Thursday, October 19, 2017

Finsta! What is it?

by Stephanie Worthley

Image result for finsta

It's not just Instagram and Snapchat teenagers are using to express themselves. More and more teenagers are creating a Finsta - a fake Instagram account. Because Instagram now allows users to create and toggle quickly between multiple accounts, teens starting creating Finsta accounts in addition to their Instagram account. Why would someone create a Finsta account? Basically, teenagers are using their Finsta accounts to hide posts from their parents, teachers, employers, coaches, and even other peers. 

Finsta is a place where teenagers can be themselves outside of the filter-driven, perfect-photo culture of Instagram. While most teenagers often post to Instagram to gather a high number of likes and quick compliments, on Finsta, it is understood that likes, perfect photos, and comments are not the goal. Instead, many can post photos to express their real feelings, post imperfect photos, and share feelings that they may not always feel comfortable sharing in public. However, this is a place where teenagers are showing off pictures of illegal activities, such as drinking, drugs, parties, or sexual pictures - pictures that they would never post in a more public Instagram account (like the account their parents and family members are following). Finsta accounts are created to throw parents off of the teenagers digital path. Finsta accounts usually have fewer followers and engage with only a close circle of friends.

Here are some Finsta Realities:
  • Most teenage have a Finsta (although they will deny, deny, deny); while teenage girls dominate the space, boys are also active despite playing a less active role. Most teens (regardless of frequency of use) keep a Finsta account to remain privy to social hierarchy and look out for their own eventual targeting by other users.
  • It is more common to have a Finsta, than to not have a Finsta. Why? The platform allows teens to celebrate their social improprieties despite articulating or simulating remorse to parents and school officials. In other words, they are able to maintain a “sorry, I’m not sorry” persona on social media, while articulating the opposite in the public setting.
  • Although Finstas may begin with good intentions, most ultimately digress into a conduit for cyber aggression, or fan the flames of social drama in the form of likes, comments and regrams.
  • Finstas that create mental, social or emotional trauma are subject to school-related discipline if and when they eventually bleed into and disrupt the school learning environment. The lines of outside bullying and school have become increasingly blurred by social media platforms.
  • Upon discovery, teens easily (and alarmingly) convince parents the Finsta is “only a joke” or “actually never used”, and quickly change their handle (name) to advance the premise that it has been deleted. Rarely, if ever, do they actually delete their Finsta.
Ask your son or daughter to show you their Finsta account. It may be difficult to find it, depending on the account name and the photo that is used to create the profile picture.


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