After Instagram first announced that it was testing the option back in May, the platform has today confirmed that all users can now pin up to three comments within their post interaction streams.
Today we’re rolling out pinned comments everywhere ????
That means you can a pin a few comments to the top of your feed post. By highlighting positive comments, you can better manage the tone of the conversation. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/w2X5grdee7
— Vishal Shah (@vishalshahis) July 7, 2020
As noted by Instagram’s VP of Product Vishal Shah, the option is designed to encourage more civil discussion by “highlighting positive comments”, though how much difference that will make in practice remains to be seen.
The original concept, which was first spotted in testing back in April, was announced along with a range of features designed to give users more control over their Instagram interactions, including the capacity to bulk delete comments, and options to limit who can tag or @mention you in their posts. In this context, comment pinning is most certainly focused on steering the conversation – but why that would stop someone from posting something negative is difficult to say.
Maybe they’ll see the pinned comments and re-think firing away, because they’ll get less exposure for their remarks by not getting into those top three comment slots? Maybe users will go to more effort to post similar comments as those that are pinned, in the hopes of also getting that pin recognition (more geared towards celebrity accounts)?
The option will obviously be varyingly beneficial based on account size and engagement – but for brands, it could be another way to highlight top responses, in order to both recognize enthusiastic members of the community and highlight positive engagement.
It could also be a great way to amplify common questions and answers. If someone asks a good question about your product, you could pin it, then reply, helping profile visitors get more context.
There is, of course, also a risk that by pinning the most positive comments, you could be seen as trying to bury more critical remarks, but used with caution, and sensibility, there’s a range of options to consider.
The new option is available to all Instagram users globally.
Expert shares advice for keeping children safe online
The arrival of the mobile internet on the island in 2018 has revolutionized the way people express discontent and organize themselves in a one-party state known for its dislike of dissent – Copyright AFP Yasuyoshi CHIBA
Keeping all electronic devices in one room is a measure that can be taken in order to protect your child online. Children have more access to screen time than ever before, in particular, access to the Internet. Hence, Internet safety has become an increasingly worrying problem amongst parents.
Internet expert Allison Troutner from VPNOverview.com tells Digital Journal about the best ways to keep your child safe online.
Consider a family ‘tech agreement’
Troutner advises: “One way to set ground rules with your child is to create a Family Tech Agreement. A family tech agreement answers as many questions as possible about internet and device use so boundaries are clear to all family members. It’s a good way for the whole family to talk about safe and responsible online behaviours.”
To create a family agreement, discuss topics like:
• What apps, games, or sites does the family use most?
• What rules do we want to include in our agreement?
• How long should we spend on our devices?
• What information is safe to share (or not)?
• What do we do if we see something inappropriate?
• What email address do we use to sign up for accounts?
• Do we know how to use in-app safety features like blocking and reporting?
• Who can we talk to if we feel uncomfortable with something online?
• Who is safe to talk to?
• What happens when someone breaks the agreement?
• When might parents be forced to break the agreement for safety?
Troutner advises: “This is a starting point: your family may discuss more topics on Internet safety for kids depending on the ages of your child or teens and what devices you use.”
Report any harmful content that you see
Troutner recommends: “Flag or report all harmful content or contact you or your child experiences using social media apps using in-app reporting features. For cybercrimes, cyberbullying, or harmful content, use in-app features like Twitter’s safe mode to report it. Most social media companies have their own safety and privacy policies and will investigate and block content or users. Apps geared towards kids, like Facebook Messenger Kids, have clear guidelines and safety features so that users can block content or contacts and have a safer experience in the app.”
Balance safety with independence
Troutner cautions: “Technical controls can be a useful way to protect your children online but they can’t solve all your problems. Children need a certain amount of freedom and privacy to develop healthily. They need their own free space to learn by trial and error what works and what doesn’t. So keep balancing, it’s part of it. Having open and honest conversations with your children can be the best way to balance this safety.”
Keep the computer in a common space
Troutner states: “If possible, keep computers and devices in a common space so you can keep an eye on activity. It prevents children from doing things that might be risky. Also, if harmful or inappropriate content appears through messages, you can address it with your child straight away.”
Password-protect all accounts and devices
According to Troutner: “From phones to computers to apps, put a password on it. That way, no one without the password can access you or your child’s device. Keep track of passwords by using a password manager.”
Update your operating systems regularly
As a protective measure, Troutner advises: “All of your devices from mobile phones or tablets to computers and smartwatches receive important updates in response to security issues on a regular basis. Be sure to install them regularly so you have the most up-to-date security fixes and remain safe online. Our recommendation is to set updates to install automatically so your device is less vulnerable to known attacks. Usually, you can find this feature in Settings, then select Automatic Updates, but it varies between devices.”
Install security or antivirus software programs and a VPN on your computer
Troutner puts forward: “Additionally, cybersecurity or antivirus software programs prevent spyware or viruses that may harm your computer if your child visits a malicious site. Using these programs, parents can also set up regular virus checks and deep system scans to make sure there is no harmful activity happening under your nose.”
He adds: “A VPN hides users’ internet activity from snoops and spoofs your location. This protects your kids by making sure hackers or predators can’t detect their actual location. You can install a VPN on your router so that the location is spoofed on all connected devices.”
Set parental controls
Troutner states: “It may seem obvious, but parental controls are crucial to your child’s safety online. Parent controls are built-in features included on devices and apps. With these features, parents customise their child’s online experience. What parental controls are available on each device or app varies, but in general, they limit screen time, restrict content, and enhance user privacy.”
Features of parental controls include:
• Limit screen time.
• Turn off in-app purchasing.
• Prevent inappropriate or mature content.
• Limit website access.
• Play, message, or send/receive content with approved contacts only.
• Monitor device location through GPS.
Troutner concludes, emphasising: “Take time to look at what parental controls are available on your child’s commonly used apps. Then, set them to reflect the type of experience you think is best for your child or teen’s online safety.”
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