What is Finstagram? (AKA Fake Instagram)

January 9, 2017 Published by

Does your tween have a Finstagram account?

Like many parents of tweens, it’s likely that by now you are familiar with Instagram, the popular photo-sharing app. But you may not have heard of ‘finstagram’, an equally popular phenomenon with this age group.

Finstagram noun / fɪn.stə.ɡræm

A mixture of ‘fake’ and ‘Instagram’ (sometimes shortened to ‘Finsta’). It is a second account created alongside a real Instagram, followed only by close friends. The photos or videos posted are usually funny or embarrassing.

instagram-logoA real Instagram account (or ‘Rinstagram’/‘Rinsta’) is expected to be highly polished, with each photo carefully edited and filtered to within an inch of its life. The photos themselves portray perfection – glamorous holidays, gourmet dinners, etc – and are judged by hundreds of people.

But it seems that tweens are looking for an alternative to this idealistic, public persona. So they create a Finstagram account where they can be themselves and post unedited photos of their real life; pulling silly faces, funny fails and so on.

Ironically, this ‘fake’ Instagram is more real than their ‘real’ account. Finstagram accounts will be set to private so that users can screen their followers and restrict them to only close friends. Having a second secret account also gives tweens privacy, away from the prying eyes of unsuspecting mum and dad, who continue to monitor the first account.


Should you be worried?

Having a Finstagram account can be a good thing, because it shows that tweens are making a distinction between the photos and posts they want the world to see, and those they want to keep more private. Rinstagram is like a performance, whereas Finstagram is much more about connecting with friends and accepting one another’s flaws.

However, this can create a false sense of privacy. Friendship groups are forever changing at this age and arguments will happen. Someone they trust can easily screenshot a post that was intended to be private and share it outside of their circle. It’s important to explain to your tween that nothing on the internet is private – they still need to be aware that someone else could see their post.


Little girl taking a selfie photo

Parents are often concerned about inappropriate photos and comments that are being hidden from them when it comes to social media. As they reach adolescence, tweens may start to take slightly suggestive photos – you may be shocked to find photos of your son with his shirt off, or your daughter pouting.

It’s almost impossible to monitor every form of communication your tween has and they’ll always be discovering new apps and websites, so it’s better to focus on talking to them more generally and giving them the tools to make their own judgements. It’s much more about parenting methods than tackling the unknown of the internet; think of it like teaching your child to never talk to strangers when they were little.


How to find out if your teen has a Finstagram account and what to do next

There are two ways to find out if your teen has a second Instagram account. You can take a look at the app on their phone or tablet; tap the small arrow next to their profile name at the top to view all the accounts that have been accessed on that device. We would suggest that you gain their permission before looking through their phone, however, as they could see this as a huge invasion of privacy, and as a result, may become more secretive in the future.

The second way is to simply talk to them about it. There will be lots of things like this that you will need to discuss with your tween, so having an open line of communication is key. Avoid being accusatory, as tweens can easily become defensive – instead, share an honest conversation. Ask whether they have a second account and if so, why? Is it because they want more privacy? And make sure you discuss the reasons that you are worried about the account, so that they understand your concerns.

If you have decided that they can have social media accounts as long as you can follow them, explain that you are unhappy because they haven’t been open with you. Take the opportunity to come to an agreement – you may decide to let them keep the account private, as long as they come to you if they see anything inappropriate.

Parenting is a real balance between letting them go and keeping connected at this age, but some slack needs to be given so children can learn to deal with social media without Big Brother standing over them as they grow up. You are their role model, so show your tween that you trust them – then if they abuse this trust, you will have a reason to take action.

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This post was written by Anna Taylor

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