‘Finsta’: A secret Instagram account teens are using and parents need to know about

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Just when parent think they’re catching up on social media, there’s yet again something else popping up.

The Instagram you most likely are used to seeing is just one version.  There could be another version, called a Finsta.

“A lot of my friends have both, actually, I think like everyone in my grade has a Finsta,” said Ryleigh Dalton, a Finsta user.

Finsta is a fake Instagram account.  FOX59 talked with teenagers who told us they’ve been using Finsta for a while and so have their friends.  Finsta is a less filtered account that teens are more selective about how they use and who sees it.  Instagram allows users to create a totally separate account and a somewhat separate identity.

“My instant reaction was what is mine putting on hers,” asks Kim Dalton, Ryleigh’s mother.

The name associated with a Finsta may not be clearly connected with a "real" Instagram account.

“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,” said Chris McKenna, founder of Protect Young Eyes, an internet safety company that hosts online safety seminars across the country.

On Finsta, the followers are a smaller circle and the number of likes don’t matter as much. Dalton says Finsta tends to be a place where teenagers feel more comfortable with what pictures and videos they post.

“Girls on Instagram 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,” said Dalton.

With the perception that parents aren’t seeing the posts, only close friends are, some teen users go for more provocative posts.

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

For most adults, Instagram is a place to share a picture, but for teens it can be much more.

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

It is not hard to figure out if your teenager has a Finsta.  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 the little up arrow next to a user name, you’ll be able to see a drop down menu to see if there are multiple accounts. The known "real" account may be the one you follow.  If there’s a second account, that could be their Finsta.

“Kids will figure out a way to use it inappropriately long before parents ever figure out how to use it appropriately in the first place,” said McKenna.

Also if your teenager is managing an Instagram and a Finsta, mostly likely both accounts are following one another to keep tabs.  You can scroll through their followers.

“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,” said McKenna.

If you find that your teen has a Finsta, it’s not a reason to immediately think the worst.  It means as a parents, you start 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” asked McKenna.

There is no separate app to create a Finsta.  You still use the regular Instagram app.  A Finsta is just another account created through Instagram.