The Social Media Privacy Options Your Child Can Control

Online Safety
March 20, 2021
4 min read

When your child begins to create social media accounts, you want to feel confident that they are making smart online decisions. This starts with their privacy settings and intention for using these platforms. Every social app has varying privacy options and we recommend that you and your child have a clear understanding of how their information is being presented to the public. Cyber Dive currently offers monitoring for Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Discord, VSCO, Google and YouTube. We will dive deep into the privacy settings offered on these sites and how you can prioritize your child’s protection online.


Instagram’s privacy settings are pretty straight forward. When creating an account your child has the choice to make their account “Private” or “Public”. They can add additional privacy options to their stories by creating a “Close Friends” list.

  • Public Account (default): All in feed and story posts are available to the public and followers are not accepted or declined
  • Private Account: Only followers can see in feed and story posts and followers must send a request to be accepted or declined
  • Close Friends: A customized list of followers that you can post specific stories to


Snapchat allows a few different types of customization for its users' privacy settings.

  • Who can contact you with Snaps, chats, calls, etc: My Friends or Everyone
  • Who can view my story: Custom (Select Friends), My Friends (All), Everyone
  • Private Story: Separate story posts with a Custom list, can have in addition to My Story
  • Who can see my location: Ghost mode (no one), My friends (All), My Friends, Except… (Exclude Certain Friends), Only These Friends… (Select Friends).
  • Allow friends to request my location: On or Off
  • Who can see me in quick add: Option to appear in other people’s “Quick Add” sections if you have mutual friends or another connection


TikTok allows similar privacy customization to Snapchat as you can filter your settings for each feature. However, many users post on TikTok with the hopes of going viral. To go viral, they must have limited privacy settings so that their content can potentially be seen by a larger audience of people.

  • Public Account: Content can be seen by anyone
  • Private Account: Only users who are approved can become a follower and see your content.
  • Suggest your account to others: On or Off
  • Allow your videos to be downloaded: On or Off
  • Who can send you direct messages: No one, Friends (*followers that follow you back), Everyone
  • Who can Duet with your videos: Only me, Friends, Everyone
  • Who can Stitch with your videos: Only me, Friends, Everyone
  • Who can view your liked videos: Only me, Friends, Everyone
  • Who can comment on your videos: No one, Friends, Everyone
  • Filter spam and offensive comments: On or Off
  • Filter keywords: On or Off

Additional age-related privacy settings have been implemented by TikTok in an effort to protect its younger users.

  • Ages 13-15 default account setting: Private Account
  • Ages 13-15 default suggest your account: Off
  • Ages 13-15 Who can comment on your videos: No one, Friends
  • Users can only Duet and Stitch videos posted by kids 16+
  • Ages 16-17 default setting for Duet and Stitch: Friends
  • Users can only download videos posted by kids 16+
  • Ages 16-17 default setting for downloading videos: Off
  • Ages 16+ can host live streams
  • Ages 16+ can direct message
  • Ages 18+ can send, receive or buy "virtual gifts"


YouTube’s privacy options are simple and provide users with three different options when uploading videos.

  • Public: Video can be seen by anyone on YouTube. They can also be shared with anyone using YouTube.
  • Private: Video can only be seen by you and the people you choose. Your private videos won’t appear in the Videos tab of your channel homepage. They also won't show up in YouTube's search results.
  • Unlisted: Can be seen and shared by anyone with the link. Your unlisted videos won’t appear in the Videos tab of your channel homepage. They won't show up in YouTube's search results unless someone adds your unlisted video to a public playlist.


Discord sets its users up with default privacy settings that can then be altered to your preference.

  • Safe direct messaging
  • Keep me safe (default): Scan all direct messages for explicit content
  • My friends are nice: Scan direct messages from everyone besides friends
  • Do not scan
  • Who can add you as a friend
  • Everyone
  • Friends of friends
  • Server members
  • DM settings
  • Default: Whenever you’re on a server with someone else they can message you
  • Specific server members can message you
  • No server members can message you


VSCO has very limited privacy for its users. All users’ content is public and can be seen by anyone that comes across their account.

  • Location shared on posts: On or Off
  • You can remove your post from another person’s collection if they add it
  • You can only message your followers
  • You can be messaged by any account that you follow

We encourage parents to familiarize themselves with the privacy options of all platforms that their child is exploring. As your child begins interacting with others online, they must learn to be intentional with their actions. By sitting down and discussing privacy settings, you and your child will have a better idea of who is seeing their content and can begin to take impactful steps to act responsibly. As a parent, you will feel confident that you are guiding your child in creating a positive digital reputation.

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