What is a ‘Finsta’ and what do parents need to know about it?

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It’s Instagram with a twist, and it may not be as innocent as you think.

Some younger Instagram users have been creating a fake Instagram account, or Finsta.

Have you heard of Finsta? It’s nothing more than a fake Instagram account using the same Instagram app.

It’s a less visually filtered account and reserved for your teenager’s closest of friends, a tighter circle so they can push the envelope and maybe show who they really are—not just the brand they are selling on the rest of social media.

From beach vacations, to breakups to the best brunch ever. You know the phrase: If you didn’t post it. it didn’t happen.

A person’s Instagram account that you see may just be one version—there could be a second version, called a Finsta or a fake Instagram account. Finstas allow users to create a totally separate account and a somewhat separate identity.

“A Finsta automatically creates a mindset of, ‘I can do a little bit more, take a little more risk and I’m a little more tempted to do something that I wouldn’t normally do,'” Chris McKenna, who runs an internet safety company called Protect Young Eyes, said.

On a Finsta, the followers are usually a smaller circle of friends and the number of likes don’t matter as much.

Ryleigh Dalton, 17, said she is less worried about being judged on her Finsta account. She said a lot of her friends have both.

“Girls on Instagram they have to have their makeup done right and they have to have the right filter and if you go on Finsta, girls will just have no makeup,” she said.

The idea is that parents aren’t seeing the posts, so some teens post more provocative photos.

“Some girls will post videos of them doing stuff that they shouldn’t be,” she said.

“One of the lies of the internet is no one will ever know,” McKenna said.

McKenna’s company hosts seminars across the country, teaching teens and their parents about potential online dangers.

“Instagram represents an identify. Instagram represents how the world, how I want to manage how the world perceives me,” McKenna said.

Figuring out if your teenager has a Finsta isn’t hard–chances are if they’re going back and forth between a real account and fake account, they’re staying logged into both of them.

“If you click on that little up arrow next to the user name at the top you would see if there’s multiple accounts,” McKenna said.

The known account is the one parents may even follow. If you find a second account—you’ve likely found their Finsta.

Heads up, parents: Both accounts are likely following one another so scroll through their followers to learn more.

“Get in their device whenever you want. Suck it up and be a parent. I look at parents all the time and say, ‘There is no such thing as sissy parenting in the digital age,” McKenna said.

McKenna says if you find your teen has a Finsta, don’t jump to conclusions. It may not be all bad. Parents can find out by asking questions.

“Why did you feel the need to create a fake account? Why is it that certain friends see one side of you and other friends see another? Why not be the real me everywhere ?” McKenna said.

It’s not just teens that are using Finstas. Some younger professionals are keeping their personal life separate from their work life.

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