While Instagram can be a fun way to share photos and videos with your friends and family, it's also a worldwide broadcasting platform that may deliver your images to people you wouldn't want to meet in real life. Posting anonymously is one way to keep yourself safe, as well as only posting images that don't give out clues to who you are, where you live and how to contact you.
Defining Your Boundaries
Before you begin posting photos on Instagram -- or anywhere else, for that matter -- take a few minutes to clarify what you feel is appropriate to share and what's not. To protect your personal safety, don't reveal your last name, where you live, where you go to school, where you work or any other specific information about yourself. Remember to apply these same rules to your friends and family before posting anything about them. This is for your own protection as well as theirs. If you tag a friend in a photo, for example, a search through other social media platforms for your friend could lead a trail straight to your front door.
Protect Your Profile
There's no reason to include personal information in your Instagram profile. Your friends already know who you are, so there's no reason to give out personal information like your full name, hometown or your date of birth. If you already provided this information on your profile, you can remove it by tapping the "Edit Your Profile" button on the Instagram app. Tap each of the text fields, like your name and bio, and delete your last name and any specifics in your bio, like where you live, work or go to school.
Keeping Your Posts Private
At the bottom of Instagram's Edit Profile screen is an option to make your posts private.Turning this on doesn't affect anyone already following you, but it does give you the option to approve or reject anyone who wants to follow you in the future. When someone wants to follow your posts, you will get a notification with the request. If you don't know someone, it's usually better not to let that person follow you. Even when your posts are private, once you post them online, you lose all control over what happens to them. Even among friends, you should never post a photo you wouldn't want your parents to see.
Things to Remember Before Posting
Before posting a photo or a video to Instagram, take a moment to review it. Make sure personal details can't be deduced from the photos you share, like street names, house numbers or other clues about who you are, where you live and where you go. For example, a photo that clearly show you on a college campus with a building name in the background could tell people where you go to school. A street sign could tell people what neighborhood you live in. If you are away on a family vacation, remember that every photo you post could be declaring to the world that your house is unoccupied.
A published author and professional speaker, David Weedmark has advised businesses and governments on technology, media and marketing for more than 20 years. He has taught computer science at Algonquin College, has started three successful businesses, and has written hundreds of articles for newspapers and magazines throughout Canada and the United States.