Does your kid have a finsta? It might not be what you think.
A “finsta” is a combination of the words “fake” and “insta,” short for Instagram. It’s not really a fake account — more like a smaller, private page restricted to close friends.
Finstas are an alternative to “rinstas” — real instagrams — which are often cultivated to present a certain image and gain followers. But a finsta doesn’t require this level of editing — it’s a silly, real-life collection of pictures. That’s why most Finstas only have a few followers, limited to people the user trusts.
Because they’re private, most finstas don’t share the user’s real name like a rinsta would. Instead, they’re labelled with an inside joke or nickname, or sometimes a name spelled backward. It could be the name of a childhood pet, a favorite hobby, or a cartoon character.
If you suspect that your kid has a private, second Instagram account, don’t worry. Most finstas are for silly selfies and sharing embarrassing moments with close friends — and for many teens, it’s “no boys allowed,” and vice versa. They can be personal outlets for sharing school and family frustrations, like a diary, and can be a healthy way for teens to vent.
Finstas give kids in the social media era a break from presenting a perfect image online, letting them just be themselves for a change. They might actually be beneficial, as so many teens’ mental health is affected by feelings of inadequacy and competition on social media. Many posts are heavily edited, and people of any age can feel like they’re not good enough if they don’t have as many followers as their friends.
“Rinstas” are the place for family vacation pictures, the best shots from a formal dance, or first-day-of-school pictures.
But what about the pictures snapped just before that perfect one, where they’re caught off guard and making a silly face? That’s for the finsta.