Instagram: How to Block a Bully

The Internet and social media sites are rampant with bullying and hate speech. But, Instagram seems to be a particularly popular spot for hardcore bullying.  About 70 percent of American teenagers use the service, according to the Pew Research Center. And 42 percent of cyberbullying victims ages 12 to 20 reported being bullied on Instagram, according to a 2017 survey by the British anti-bullying organization Ditch the Label. Teens and young people are getting creative in the ways they are “bullying” their targets on Insta- they are creating “hate pages” where they just make a profile to make fun of a certain person, relentlessly. Sometimes, after breakups, the former girlfriend will tag her ex in a photo with her new boyfriend, just to hurt the ex and show that they’ve moved on. Another example of bullying is a group of friends tagging themselves in a photo and then captioning it, “Miss you, Annie!” even though they purposely never invited Annie to the outing. There is also reports of endless harassment through direct messaging on Instagram.

So, what can you do if you or your teen falls prey to an Insta bully? First of all, you can ALWAYS delete the app. It may be the healthiest, easiest choice. In extreme cases, you may even need to contact law enforcement. But, if you or your teen are not ready to part ways with your Insta account here are your options (according to Common Sense Media):

In the app:

  • Go to any post by the bully.
  • Click the three dots to the right of their screen name.
  • Tap Unfollow, Report, or Mute. (Mute hides the person’s post from your feed but keeps you as a friend/follower.)

On the browser:

  • Go to the bully’s profile page.
  • Click the three dots to the right of their screen name.
  • Tap either Block or Report.

The bully won’t get a notification that you’ve blocked them, but they won’t be able to see your profile, posts, or stories. They will also see “User Not Found” instead of “Follow,” and can still see your comments and likes on public posts. They can also still mention you unless you change your username.

Here’s how to manage comments:

In the app:

  • Tap your profile icon.
  • Tap the three lines in the upper-right corner, then tap the Settings gear at the bottom of the page.
  • Tap Privacy and Security.
  • Tap Comment Controls.
  • Use the filters to control who can leave comments, whose comments you want to block, and whether you want to filter using keywords (either by default or ones you choose).

On the browser:

  • Click on your profile icon.
  • Click the gear icon.
  • Click Privacy and Security.
  • Click Edit Comment Settings.
  • Filter comments by choosing their default filter or entering specific keywords.At Project B3, we aren’t discouraging or encouraging your family’s use of Instagram. We know that there are healthy aspects to social media and that is great! We also know the reality of the internet and want you to have all the tools and tricks necessary to keep you and your teens safe online.