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What is “Finsta?”

Amber Brandt  |  October 17, 2022
You’re sure to have heard of Instagram (the photo sharing social platform), but are you familiar with the term “Finsta?” This social media slang term is a contraction of the words “fake” and “Insta” (short for Instagram/IG). Finsta accounts are private and typically only followed by a maximum of 20 people but could be much less. In this smaller format, people find it much easier to share inside jokes or post less-than-perfect selfies.

On the surface, having a second IG account where you share more real or candid content has its perks, but when it comes to your kids, Finsta accounts can have a real dark side.
Because they can remain private and anonymous, Finsta accounts give tweens and teens a perfect place to hide their identity and explore an alter ego – perhaps exploring scandalous or inappropriate behavior, or trolling/bullying peers – with very little risk of being caught.
Cyberbullying is one of the most pervasive and harmful forces facing teens today, and Finsta accounts give it an insidious space to flourish. Because it’s very difficult to trace a Finsta back to its creator, it also gives the user the perception of having no accountability for their actions. Here are some things to be aware of:
  • Finsta accounts are made by teen girls and guys alike but are heavily dominated by females.
  • Finsta names/handles are typically sexually suggestive and often cleverly weave in the creator’s actual name. These handles are often smart enough to evade detection when searched for by parents or schools, but still obvious enough to be identified by peers.
  • Finstas intentionally muddy the waters alongside real accounts to launch social media cyber bullying assaults, easily humiliating and ostracizing their peers under the cover of anonymity.
  • It’s more common for teens to have a Finsta now than not to. Most teenagers have one, even if they deny it.
  • Unlike Facebook or other platforms, it’s easy to “mute” a Finsta. If an adult finds their child’s account, the kid can easily change the handle so it appears the account was deleted.
What do to now:
  1. Start by simply asking your child if they have one. “I read an article today that explained Finsta accounts and how kids are using them. Do you know someone who has one? Do you?” 
  2. Explain how someone could create a Finsta with good intentions (wanting to share pictures or inside jokes with friends) and still end up tangled in cyberbullying – either by becoming caught up in teasing someone, or a target themselves.
  3. Become well-versed in the world of Finstas and keep open dialogue with your kids. If you become aware of an account or cyberbullying activity, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for help.