Amy Iverson: What is a Finsta and does your teenager have one?

A Finsta is the word the world has invented for a fake (or second) Instagram account. Fake + Instagram = Finstagram = Finsta.

People create their Finstas for various reasons, but it is most often so that parents and school officials don’t see the posts. Lots of kids say they only allow their closest friends to follow these accounts; usually fewer than 50 people. One user told Teen Vogue that her Finsta more accurately shows her real life, while her Rinsta (real Instagram account) is carefully curated.

Many teenagers migrated over to Instagram to get away from the prying eyes of grown-ups who took over Facebook in recent years. And now that 28 percent of 30- to 49-year-olds are on Instagram, teens feel forced to either switch to SnapChat (if their parents will let them) or try to secretly create a Finsta. Instagram made this option much easier last year when it allowed users to have one login for up to five different accounts.

Parents may be thinking there’s no way their child has a top-secret social media account. In a recent National Cyber Security Alliance study, 60 percent of teen internet users admitted they had secret online accounts. But only 28 percent of parents suspected their child might have an account unknown to mom and dad.

Why your teen having a Finsta could be bad

While the majority of Finsta users are girls, many boys use them as well. And all across the country, teenagers are using these so-called spam accounts to bully and humiliate other kids. When parents, school officials, and even peers don’t know who created the accounts, it can lead to the user…

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