Seemingly picture-perfect to the eyes of most users, many people are unable to see the visual violations and dangers that can occur to anyone using the app. The harm can be real, especially to children.
With Instagram being entirely picture- and video-based, it is the only social media, other than Snapchat, that children don't have to read to understand. However, Facebook, Twitter, and other textually-based apps make it a bit easier to protect children from content that is not always appropriate for their age level.
As technology use is becoming prevalent in youth at younger and younger ages, children are beginning to grow up and face issues that people historically didn't face until their teen years or early 20s. Social media platforms and technology tends to expose kids to "adult" situations much faster.
Social media can be a very helpful tool for adults, but for kids it can introduce them to many topics they are not ready to be exposed to, such as sexuality, addiction, mental health issues, pornagraphy, and so much more.
One of the most common issues children with access to the Internet face, specifically Instagram users, is idolizing, depression, self-harm, and even suicide. Unattainable images of what life "should" look like, along with the ideas that being different at an age where acceptance isn’t always easy to come by, all contribute to the problem.
Outside of studies, I’ve seen this effect the lives of one of my family’s close friends, simply because they were given a phone and installed Instagram. From there, they were exposed to all sorts of different types of pages that were not appropriate for children whatsoever.
I feel that an elementary school student should never be given the opportunity to see content above their age level. Yet, some adults are handing over phones and tablets with installed social media apps to young children, even though the vast majority of social media platforms require their users to be 13 or over.
This may be a bit heavy, but it is a real issue that affects real people. More often than not, those impacted are young children.
So please, be sure to monitor what sites and apps are accessible to children. Also, make it clear that if they have questions about heavy issues, they should go to their parents, not the Internet. Another helpful tip from someone who has many social media accounts herself: I would start with Facebook instead of Instagram. Facebook is a lot more “caring” for their users and filters content very closely.