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Social media is a vital part of modern life. You can update your friends about your day, or simply post pictures of your travels overseas. The whole thing not only provides us with an extra dopamine boost, but it also helps us keep in touch with others online.

The downside to being part of the online community on social media is the fact that there are many bad actors. This article will focus specifically on Instagram, which will help you deal with them. You could have a stalker or someone harassing you, or even someone that you don’t want to be in your online community.

How can you ensure that Instagram activity is secure from prying eyes? And how do you avoid pesky rogues filling your DM with unwelcome content? These are some helpful tips.

Set your account as a ‘Private Account’

You can make your Instagram account anonymous to ensure that no one else sees what you post. If you only wish to interact with the people you know and the ones who follow, you can set your account to ‘Private’ by going to the app’s Settings>Privacy>Account Privacy and then toggle the Private Account option on.

Your account will be private so you must approve any new followers to view your videos and photos. Only approved followers can send messages to you via DMs. Google won’t index photos or videos that you have uploaded to Google Images if the Private Account option is turned on.

Status: Disabled Activity

Insta has a function that displays other Instagram users your activity. The friend’s profile photo in the DM section will show this green dot. This indicates that the friend is available and online to answer.

Although it’s a great feature, some users might find it intrusive. To turn off the Activity Status option, go to the app’s Settings>Privacy>Activity Status and toggle the option off.

Report, block or restrict accounts

The option to block, report or limit certain users that harass you or post inappropriate content is always available. This can be done by going directly to their Instagram account and clicking the hamburger menu at the top-right. Reporting a user can be done by clicking the three dots option in the story.

Long-tap on the comment to report it or unfollow it. Then, tap the exclamation symbol at the top-right. You will be able to report, unfollow, restrict, or disable the account.

If you want to hide a specific user’s notifications and comments, the Restrict feature in the app allows you to unfollow or block them. To enable this feature, go to Setting>Privacy>Restricted Accounts and add the account there.

Follow comments and stories

You have control over who is able to view your Instagram stories. By tapping the triangle menu in the upper-right corner, you can disable commenting or interactions from your posts.

Other options include the ability to block accounts and set content filters. You also have the ability to hide certain phrases. You can also choose who can and cannot comment on your public account. These options can be toggled by going to Settings > Privacy > comments

In Settings you can also hide your stories from certain users, and decide who may share them.

Mute accounts

Muting an account means you will not see their updates in your timeline. This is a subtler way to restrict their content than using the Restrict button. Instagram won’t notify you if an account has been muted.

Tap the three dots menu to mute an accounts. You can also tap on Direct Messages to mute the account. This will open the information icon (i), which is located at the top of your screen.