Every Parent Needs to Know What a “Finsta” Is!
by Nancy Kislin, LCSW, MFT
Your child’s finsta account will give you a window into their inner world– what you find on these accounts may be concerning. Finsta is a second Instagram account used for sharing with a smaller circle of followers.
Many middle and high schoolers today have finsta accounts, otherwise known as a fake Instagram account where they limit who gets to follow them, usually allowing anywhere from 50-100 “friends.”
On these accounts, they are showing the world an “unfiltered and unedited” version of themselves. This is where they share their most private struggles, their dreams, their complains about you, and everything else that goes through their mind. Think of it as the previous generations’ use of diaries– could you imagine if Edith Wharton had a finsta?
While your child’s real Instagram account, or “rinsta,” may be open to the public, a finsta is private and more selective. They often use a fake, clever username and allow themselves to be more “real” on this account. Some teens even give their friends their passwords, which sometimes backfires when friends get in a fight.
One teen told me this is where they post photos of themselves that aren’t perfect, and don’t include “photoshopping every part of their body.” But many teens also use these accounts to post pictures of themselves doing illegal things, thinking future employers won’t be able to see it on these private accounts.
This all might not seem so bad at first, but ask your teens how much time they spend on finsta? Do you even know if they have one?
All this time spent on “Finstas” is time that your kid is not using to explore nature, have eye-to-eye heartfelt conversations, learn intimacy skills or how to read emotions and body language.
They are developing an external sense of self while doing nothing for their internal self. Who are they? What are their values? What makes them feel worthy? What brings them joy?
How many times a day, a week, a month, are they comparing themselves and their lives to what other people post?
To me, this is terrifying, and quite honestly I don’t understand why good parents are continuing to allow this technology to rob their children of healthy development.
Let your child know that you must know all of their account passwords. Go over the content once a week with them and limit the amount of time they spend on it. Remember that having access to technology is a privilege not a right.
I have trust in you– you are a strong parent.
Now go do your job.
Nancy Kislin, LCSW, MFT