Kids reveal their ‘real’ selves on secret Instagram accounts

Oct 22, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. ET
Image: Jonah Markowitz/SheKnows

If you're following your kid on social media, you probably feel better knowing you're keeping up with what they're doing. But are you?

If your child's on Instagram, it may be time to sit them down and ask them about their "Finstagram" account. No, it's not another social media site we old fogeys have to figure out: A kid's Finsta is their "secret" Instagram account, one where they limit followers (ahem, that may mean you, Mom and Dad) and post the sort of photos and captions they're uneasy about putting out on their regular "Instagram" accounts. The name comes from a mashup of "fake" and "Instagram."

The Hatch kids let us in on the divide between Insta and Finsta... and what parents need to know: 

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Startling, huh?

First, to know that kids might have another account out there that you might not know about, and second, to know that our kids feel they can't actually share their authentic selves with the world:

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hard to be yourself

Instagram vs. Finstagram
Image: SheKnows

We as parents certainly need to impress upon our kids that they shouldn't share everything about themselves on social media — for safety's sake. What they say now could follow them into their futures, with colleges and future employers Googling them (not to mention some 40 percent of adult Internet users admit they regret things they've posted in the past).

More: 1 Big step could save you a lot of headaches when your kid gets a cellphone

But the Finstagram phenomenon puts us parents in the precarious position of trying to impress upon our kids that while too much honesty is a bad thing, we still want them to be true to themselves. Social media seems to allow our kids to create alternate personae for themselves, and who they really are can get lost in the middle:

Instagram vs. Finstagram
Image: SheKnows

honest online
Image: SheKnows

More: Why we need to teach our kids about the F-word

But knowledge, as they say, is power. Talk to your kids about social media, and ask them for all of their account information. If they have a second "Finsta" account, ask them why they feel the need to edit themselves.

For more help, download the Hatch discussion guide.

How many social media accounts do your kids have?

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