In honor of Bullying Prevention Month, we are taking a look at inspiring teens building positive communities on Instagram and how they deal with trolls and online bullying.

By Sugey Palomares

Tamir Harper

Tamir is an 18-year-old activist who has worked with many organizations as an adviser and consultant. He most recently launched his own nonprofit organization Urbed Advocates to fight for quality and efficient urban education.

“The best way to create a kind community on Instagram is by sharing positive and happy content. Knowing though that I am a social justice advocate many people won’t believe in my views so they will comment some not so kind comments. When that occurs, I work to let them know that their thoughts are heard, but I respectfully disagree. I engage in professional dialogue that hopefully gets the other person to understand we are all welcome to our own opinions,” he said. What a great strategy!

Natalie Hampton

Natalie, 18, is the founder of Sit With Us, an app dedicated to kindness in schools and ensuring everyone has a place to sit at lunch. “I choose to re-post kind messages and content to help create a kinder community on Instagram and brighten someone's feed. I choose not to follow any accounts that spread hate. I filter them out by simply unfollowing!” she said. Bullies now know that they’ll be unfollowed if they visit Sit With Us and have nothing positive to share.

Alexsey Reyes

Alexsey not shown in photo

The 17-year-old photographer started Teens Create, (@teenscreate) a space dedicated to empower youth voices and talent. His personal Instagram page is also dedicated to self-portraits from his teen peers. “I make sure people feel comfortable voicing their opinion and asking questions if they need help on something related with photography or any advice by responding to DMs and comments," he explained. 

"In the past I’ve held “compliment chats” on posts, where I ask everyone to compliment the person that commented before them to encourage other artists and build confidence. I’ve used the comments-control feature to avoid negativity in my community. If it finds a way to reach my account, I report and delete the comment. If the user continues to come back (which is unlikely), I simply remove them from my followers or block them. This is helpful to keep things safe and enjoyable for me and everyone engaged.”

Christiana Smith

Christiana is a teen skateboarder and founder of A Positive Seed (@apositiveseed), a company focused on spreading positivity and giving back. The page focusing on mental health and spreads positive words of self-love and encouragement. “I like to share good messages and quotes that have made an impact on me via Instagram Stories, posts, and highlights that I feel others can relate to as well and promote a community growth of well-being. I also think it's important to follow and engage with like-minded people as well as using and exploring hashtags that can relate. The safety features are life savers, the easiest thing you can do to filter the haters is to clean them out with the tools Instagram gives you. If someone comments something rude or offensive, delete it, block them so it doesn't happen again, and report it if necessary. I've definitely noticed way less problems on my account since doing these things.”