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Teenagers also use their phones for some aspects of school learning, including accessing school resources, information and connecting with class peers.Instagram is the most popular social media platform for teens: data from the United States shows that about 76% of this age group use it regularly.

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Joanne Orlando does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

Fake Instagram accounts, often referred to as “finstas” or “spam accounts”, have become the norm for many teens – but their reasoning for creating these is not as sinister as you think.

Since that time teens have also embraced them, with ownership of numerous “alternate” accounts now common for this age group.

Teens do not typically set up finstas in their own name, but instead use a fake name or the name of an entity such as their favourite character.

A distinctive trend in Instagram use, something that can go under the radar, is that teens increasingly have more than one account.

Teens will often have a “rinsta” – a real Instagram account – and a “finsta”: a fake or second account.

The friends that teens select for each of their finsta accounts depends on the type of content they want to post on there.

There are at least three reasons why teens create finsta accounts: Teens commonly create finstas as a space to show their silly or more vulnerable side with close friends, without being judged by others.

Teens may also use finstas as a way of boosting their real Instagram accounts, for example using them to likes posts or add flattering comments as is seen with You Tube activity.

A benefit of finstas is that they allow the focus of teen’s social media use to shift in a positive way.

Semi-anonymous and closed-platform posts also bring the potential for bullying, sexting, revenge posting, illegal activity and amplified drama that can easily spill over from finsta into other social media accounts and real life.

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