How to safely use ‘Questions’ on Instagram

Recently Instagram introduced ‘Questions’ – the latest feature onto the photo sharing app. Users are now able to invite their followers to ask them questions, which they can then publicly answer.  The UK Safer Internet Centre has published a blog describing things to be aware of.

What are questions on Instagram?

Questions can be added once you have taken a photo or video that you want to share on your story. This is done by selecting the poll sticker from the stickers tab  .

You can then position the questions sticker onto your story and invite your followers to ask you a question.

Your followers ask you a question by typing into the answer box in your sticker, and then sending this to you to answer.

To see the questions you have been asked, swipe up to open the viewers list for that part of your story.

Are the questions anonymous?

There has been some confusion recently about whether the question you ask on Instagram stories are anonymous.

Instagram questions are not anonymous, the person who you sent the question to will know that it is you who asked them. However, if the person you’re sending a question to decides to share your question publicly, your username will be removed.

Remember that anonymous or not there is a real person behind the Instagram account that you are asking questions to. It’s important to act respectfully and kindly on this service and any other question platform you use.

Who can see my answers?

You can choose how you answer the questions you have been asked. When you click to reply to a question you are taken to a camera screen, where you can take a picture that will be the background to your answer. Once you have typed your reply to the question, you can choose whether to answer privately or publicly.

  • Privately: you can choose to send your answer directly to the person who asked you in a private message.
  • Publicly: you can chose to post your answer onto your story so that all of your followers can see it.  It’s worth noting if you have a public account anyone who views your story will be able to see your answer.

You can also choose not to answer any questions you have been asked. You can delete any questions in the question viewer. If anyone asks you a question that is inappropriate or makes you feel uncomfortable you can always go and speak to an adult you trust, and report or block the user.

Things to remember

Whilst these questions can be used positively to find out more about your friends, there is potential for this feature to be misused. There have been reports of people using the feature to ask upsetting or insulting questions, especially if they think they are under an anonymous guise.

Remember that whoever you are asking questions of is a real person. Before you send a negative or mean comment, think about the effect that receiving this will have on a person.

Our advice

  • Think about how your question will make someone feel.
  • Remember that they will be able to see what you post.  If your question will hurt someone’s feelings it’s better not to post it.
  • Report inappropriate questions.
  • If you see a story or question that you think breaks Instagram’s terms of service you can report it to Instagram.
  • Speak to someone you trust.
  • Speak to a parent, carer or teacher if you are upset or concerned about any question you have been asked. You can also contact Childline by calling 0800 1111.

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