Parental Tips

Instagram Reels Real Talk: What Parents Need to Know

You might be scrolling through Instagram and see the latest clapboard icon followed by cute pops of music and dancing. You ask yourself, “Is this TikTok?” It’s close! Instagram has released their latest addition to the app called REELS and it’s eerily similar to TikTok, in smaller bites. You can access it through your explore page. 

When you click onto Reels from your Explore page, you can view the video being promoted and have the opportunity to interact with the content by liking, commenting or sharing.


This TikTok lookalike sure has parents talking and asking lots of questions. So what are Instagram Reels? 

  • Instagram Reels are a lot shorter, just 15 seconds instead of a full TikTok minute. 
  • You can share your videos in Reels or on your Instagram feed.
  • Reels has a feature that is similar to the TIkTok For You Page in that it curates content based on your preferences and the content creators you already follow, but you can also choose to follow specific content creators.
  • Reels now shows up under search and offers featured videos.


Are your children on Instagram? While their policies require you to be 13 or older, many parents allow their kids to have accounts, sometimes managed by the parent. If your kids are using Instagram Reels, here are five ways to keep your kids safe: 

  1. Watch IG Reels with your kids. Don’t let them explore unsupervised. 
  2. Keep your accounts private so you can manage who watches your child’s content.
  3. Don’t use hashtags. They can attract strangers and give opportunities for unwelcome interaction. Find out more about how hashtags attract predators on our blog. 
  4. Filter comments through Instagram’s privacy settings to protect against offensive comments. You can find it under “Menu”, then “Settings”, then “Privacy>Comments” and then select “Hide Offensive Comments.”
  5. Set a daily timer to limit use, just like you would any app. 

Popular mom blogger and Instagram influencer Rachel Sobel of Whine and Cheezits, shares her thoughts on her tween daughter and social media.

“We took away TikTok and all social media from our 10-year-old who had a private account. The problem we had was in the main feed, we couldn’t put age restrictions or filter out inappropriate and sexually explicit content.  With Reels, I do them and she is in the background sometimes, but while I think this is a safer environment, it’s still concerning because you have zero control of what pops up in your main feed. You have to monitor this content and it’s a BIG job. We trust her, but we can’t help what she’s exposed to so we chose to be helicopter parents when it comes to social media.

In my opinion, you’re doing them a disservice by not monitoring your children on social media and just trusting them. “

While it’s always up to parents to choose phone privileges, we always recommend following the age requirement of each social media platform. If you want to learn more about TikTok, a similar video sharing platform, we have a comprehensive guide on our blog for you to explore. And if you and your child do choose to use a video making app, please stay safe!