This week, 13-year-old Malachi Hemphill lost his life. He was videotaping himself on Instagram Live while he was handling a gun. The gun accidentally went off. He was rushed to a local hospital where he was later pronounced dead. His mother said that 10 to 15 kids showed up at her house after the accident happened. She thinks they may have been watching live when the gun went off. His mom said it was hard to keep track of Malachi’s social media activities even though she and her husband often monitored his profiles.
Please understand, IN NO WAY AM I SAYING THAT MALACHI CREATED, HAD OR USED ANY TYPE OF FAKE ACCOUNT. What I am saying is, Instagram is very, very popular. Parents know that Instagram is popular and their kids know that their parents know it is popular. So to keep parents from spying on what is REALLY going on, some teens create FAKE INSTAGRAM accounts, Finstagram. The kids just call these accounts “Finsta” for short. With Instagram, you can have up to 5 accounts that you can easily switch between without having to log out and back in. Before I list how you can tell if your child has a Finsta, let me say that the number one way to help keep your child safe online is to communicate. Have a good relationship with your child, open and honest communication. Don’t do all of the talking, ask questions and then really listen.
HOW TO CHECK FOR A FINSTA:
Have access to your child’s phone.
Either you or your child logs into his\her Instagram account.
There are 5 icons at the bottom of the Instagram page.
Tap the picture icon at the far right.
This should bring up the account homepage.
If you see an arrow alongside the Instagram username at the top of the screen, there is more than one account associated with that user. The other account(s) may be something your child does not want you to see.
Be loving, caring, and nosy.
John Lee Jones