Parents, It’s Time to Fight InstaPorn on Instagram. NOW.

instagram porn

Over the weekend, I read an article from one of my very favorite sites that all parents should subscribe to, Protect Young Eyes. You may recall them singing their praises back when they led the way in getting SnapChat to shut down that pornographic “Cosmo After Dark” feature, a campaign I was happy to jump in on. Together, we rallied readers from our websites to yell at Cosmo and SnapChat until they dumped the feature. It was a great victory for decency and the safety of our kids online! Well, now, PYE has let out another rallying cry, and I’m happy to jump back on board with them. This time? We need to band together as parents to fight Instagram porn.

Instagram porn is rampant on the app

Many of our kids have Instagram, the “legal” age to do so is only thirteen. I will say, that I still think that’s too young and that our kids don’t “need” social media. My 14-year-old just got his first smart phone, and he’s not allowed to have any social media on it. Social media isn’t for kids, it’s really not…but that doesn’t mean that Instagram shouldn’t make it SAFE for them, especially when they allow children to make accounts. Right? Of course right. Why would you make it legal for a 13-year-old to use an app that has millions of pornographic pictures and videos on it? I can find no good answer to that question.

I’m not saying Instagram porn is purposeful on the part of the app; it’s definitely not. However, Instagram does literally nothing to stop its users from uploading porn to it constantly. Don’t believe me? Do a simple search. Or, better yet, DON’T, because you’re gonna see some NASTY stuff. Our friends at Protect Young Eyes did the literal dirty work for you, and here is what they found.

Instagram porn is being uploaded much faster than users can report it

Chris McKenna of Protect Young Eyes embarked on an Instagram porn reporting campaign for five days. I will let him explain, in his own words, how he conducted his experiment. Chris says:

“Here’s what we did. Simple, really. We selected five #hashtags that are known offenders when it comes to inappropriate content. For five days, we reported these #hashtags using Instagram’s self-reporting feature, at least 10 times per day. Meaning, we told Instagram that the #hashtag was posting inappropriate content and/or the #hashtag itself is inappropriate. Therefore, each #hashtag was reported at least 50 times over a 5-day timeframe. And, we wanted to see if it made a difference.”

Here’s an example of the content that came up under the #sexyvideos hashtag. Chris blocked out all the really, really pornographic ones, but has descriptors of what is in each screen shot below:

instagram porn
Photo: Protect Young Eyes

Ok, after you’ve picked your jaw up off the floor, please note that this is just ONE of the hashtags Chris tested and reported. To see them all, please go to his article on Protect Young Eyes (I really, really suggest you do!!!) Also note: the number of images and videos on the #sexypictures hashtag was 1.6 million on the first day he reported it, and 1.6 million on the 5th day he reported it. Meaning…(drumroll please)…reporting inappropriate content on Instagram does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. 

This…is not good news. By the by, the other hashtags McKenna tested were just as horrific and reporting also made no difference with them; in the case of two of the hashtags, the number of pornographic photos and videos increased over Chris’ five days of reporting. The other three all stayed the same, no decrease whatsoever.

What parents can do to combat Instagram porn

First and foremost, we need to hold Instagram accountable and use platforms like this one and alllll our social media accounts to call on them to do MORE to get rid of this stuff. Some things Protect Young Eyes is calling on Instagram to do include:

  • Raise the difficulty (and I would add, age limit) on creating an account
  • Use machine learning to identify and block porn (This tech DOES exist)
  • Prevent obviously non-compliant (with Instagram’s guidelines) hashtags from being used
  • Hire more humans to review and remove content that violates your community guidelines
  • Create a safe mode for parents who want to teach their kids how to use Instragram
  • Remove Instagram’s blog from Tumblr (kids can search whatevvvver they want, filter-free with this backdoor, and they know about it)

Parents, fire up your fingers. Email your demands to Instagram at their contact form at http://help.instagram.com/, (that’s right, they don’t even have an actual email address you can use. LAME) and then copy and paste that email to your Facebook account and encourage your peers to do the same! We CAN use our voices to effect change, just like we did with Cosmo After Dark!

What parents can do to protect their kids from Instagram porn

Naturally, I would argue that you just shouldn’t let your kid have an Instagram. That’s how we’re rolling with it in my house. But, even if you don’t allow your kiddo to have one, you’re gonna want to have their mobile devices locked down tight anyway. Protect Young Eyes recommends BARK, saying, “Instagram doesn’t provide parental controls. The only solution we recommend for monitoring Instagram is BARK. On Android, BARK can even alert parents to inappropriate searches in Explore (not on iOS yet). It’s a start and honestly, the best we can do for now, until Instagram gives us some help.”

Also, if your kid does have an Insta, you’re doing to need to follow them and their accounts very closely to make sure they don’t have a Finsta (fake instagram), follow people that they follow, check comments, and talk talk TALK about bullying, not messaging with strangers, depression and anxiety, and reporting ANYTHING they see that makes them uncomfortable. Giving your child social media basically creates a new part time monitoring job for you as a parent, and it’s just TOO important to slack off on. Consider THAT before you give your kid the keys to these apps…do you have what it takes time-wise to ensure their safety?

Let’s band together and call on Instagram to make a change, parents! We deserve safe social media for ourselves to use, as well as for our kids. The bottom line is: if Instagram is letting 13-year-olds use their app, they need to crack down on mature content.

 

 

 


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Jenny Rapson
Jenny Rapson is a follower of Christ, a wife and mom of three from Ohio and a freelance writer and editor. You can find her at her blog, Mommin' It Up, or follow her on Twitter.