Regardless of What She Thinks, My Child is Too Young to Be on Instagram

BY: - 22 Jan '13 | Parenting

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Photo Credit: My Instagram

The other weekend as my daughter made her way to me after getting picked up from Children’s Church by her daddy she excitedly began telling me what she learned and how much fun she had. The excitement could be felt in her voice as she gave an account on how she had spent the last hour or so of her morning. She then shared with me that she had made a new friend. Her friend was 10 and had an iPod touch. She continued noting that her friend had an Instagram account and had given her Instagram name after taking a photo of the two of them.

These days nothing is private and with social sharing of photographs constantly occurring it’s very likely that our photos are floating around in a few places unbeknownst to us. And now that children, my daughter’s age, have iPods, iPhones, and other forms of technology in their possession they are doing some social networking on their own.

My daughter has my old iPhone and laptop but when she has it in her possession, despite the phone not being activated, we monitor her very closely. Several of her friends have an Instagram account (I also have one) and she wants one too, but I just don’t feel like she’s ready. Although accounts can be made private, I worry about the potential repercussions that can come out of allowing my eight year old to have access to what would appear to be a harmless way of sharing photos.

So here we are age eight, an age when requests for technology devices increase along with the desire to have the same things friends have, whether that is a cell phone or an Instagram account. So far my husband and I are saying no and we are sticking to it. I feel like there are so many things trying to pull my daughter away from the innocence that comes with being a child. I happen to be “friends” with some of her friends on Instagram and I know their parents are good about monitoring them, but for now I’d like to encourage my little one to be little. I want her to play, to draw, and to take in all the wonder that comes with being eight. Cell phones and social networks will come, eventually.

BMWK — What about you, do you allow your children any access to social network sites like Instagram and if not, at what age do you think it’s most appropriate?

About the author

Krishann Briscoe wrote 32 articles on this blog.

Krishann Briscoe is a child welfare professional turned freelancer with a background in child and adolescent development and social work. In addition to authoring her personal blog His Mrs. Her Mr., Krishann is a contributor for Disney's Babble, The Conversation and The Conscious Perspective. Krishann resides in Southern California with her husband and their two daughters.

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9 WordPress comments on “Regardless of What She Thinks, My Child is Too Young to Be on Instagram

  1. Willie Words HavMire

    I feel you on the early social media request of the kids. My daughter is also 8 and now requesting iPads (when she used to request barbies). I also worry about the attention seeking culture our children are growing up in where people will do just about ANYTHING for more LIKES, FOLLOWS, SUBSCRIBERS and COMMENTS.

    She need to go thru a few lessons on SELF WORTH before we allow her to get those kinds of social media privileges (it might take a while(^;)

  2. BUpton

    As I read your article and think about many of my friends who have young children I cannot help but think that society(or our generation) has gotten so far away from the idea of teaching our children the aspect of deferred gratification. I am 49 with a 22 year old son. During my child rearing years I brought forth many of the teachings that I encountered when I was child from my own parent. Too often we are bombarded with the notion that ideologies from the past are considered “old school”. Every generation has the thought that the previous generations ideals are considered outdated. Solid values tend to withstand the test of time, they build character they help us grow into individuals. Individuals who become thinkers and not followers. Of which, many of us older folk didn’t realize until later. Yes, we are now living in a technological age that is only continuing to expand, as parents (my opinion) we have to constantly consider there is both a time and place for all things (old school). Am I the only person that got “you need to have something to look forward to” from my parent. What do our children have to look forward to? I remember that I couldn’t wait to go to certain parties,wear makeup/ heels/ hair color the latest gear, etc. Of course it all pales in comparison to what children think is important today, nontheless each generation had the same “pale in comparison” to the next generation. Social media, instagram, tweeter, ipads and cell phones “all time and place things” (again my opinion) are young adult to adult enterainment, not for a 5 or 10 yr old, there are similar markets geared to that group. There is so much time for grown up stuff. Social interactions at this age are face to face, and social media should not be the medium. I understand that peer pressure is great and all children want to have or do what their “friends” are doing, but I also remember my mother letting me know in no uncertain terms “I am not their parent, so my concern isn’t what they’re allowed to do”….I’m just trying to say it’s important for our children to be exposed and aware of the “themes” of the day, but more precedence given for life lessons that build character and self worth….well that’s my soap box banter and again only my opinions. Thanks for reading, sorry for length. I assure you the gratitude comes for both you and the child, when as young adult’s they discuss their viewpoints of the world/peers with what they had been taught at home. 🙂

    1. Krishann Briscoe Post author

      Thank you for taking the time to write your comment. No need to apologize. We love that you desire to engage in some sort of dialogue with us! You are right there is so much time for grown up stuff. I just wish we realized that before becoming grownups. Social media will be there I’m sure. Our focus should be on character building. That is something that I also place a lot of importance on. And yes, self worth, because that will remain regardless of how many “likes” you get on Facebook or Instagram 🙂 Thanks again for sharing!

  3. A Little Confused

    It looks like you have pictures of you and your family (daughter included) on your instagram above. I’d like to know how that is better (or safer )than your daughter having an instagram of her own. DISCLAIMER: I’m in complete agreement with the meat and veggies of this post; this is not an attack of any sort, just a thought.

    1. Krishann Briscoe Post author

      I anticipated a comment like yours and do appreciate you sharing your thoughts. I do have an instagram as noted in the post as well as a blog and do share photos of my family. I personally don’t feel my daughter is ready to have an instagram account of her own. While I share some things via photo there are things that I don’t share. She might struggle with what is and isn’t ok to share. For example she might take a photo of her and her friends and post it. When I take photos of her and her friends even in the event of her birthday party I get permission from the parents before posting it anywhere. They may not all feel comfortable having me share a photo that has their children in it. Also she might post photos of her school or other “private” information that I don’t share via social media. Additionally on instagram she has the ability to access other people’s photos and some of them are not appropriate for children to see (we also monitor what she watches on television and watch her when she is using the internet). As she gets older it will be harder and harder to monitor what she is able to see but right now when she is in my care I still can. There are lots of things that we parents have that our children want but that doesn’t mean that it is appropriate for them to have it just yet. ASIDE from the whole safety issue is the fact that I just want her to focus on being little while she still can. I want her to spend less time seeing who liked her photos or trying to connect with friends online and spend more time playing and enjoying her friends in real life. For now she can leave the picture taking to me 🙂

    2. A Little Confused

      I take it that she doesn’t struggle at all with her pics on mom’s instagram. I’m thinking if my mom had an instagram and she put pics up of lil ol’ me, I’d much rather her place them in an old school paper photo album, if I were that concerned with privacy.

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Is it Really “Kids These Days” or Have Kids Always Been This Out of Control?

BY: - 23 Jan '13 | Parenting

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Photo Credit: zalouk webdesign via Flickr

Photo Credit: zalouk webdesign via Flickr

After having a recent discussion amongst some girlfriends, it really got me thinking: is it a generational thing or a rite of teenage passage that has kids acting like they’re downright crazy? When I was a teenager, I admit I did a lot of stupid things I wasn’t supposed to do. Sometimes I got caught and sometimes I didn’t. But I was deathly afraid of my parents, so there was no way I was going to outright disrespect them to their faces. But I had friends and acquaintances that I would witness talking back to their parents, disregarding their authority, and just being downright nasty towards them. I never had a taste of alcohol until I was almost a junior in college, and never smoked as much of a cigarette in my entire life. But I knew of friends, and friends of friends, who did those things. When I think about kids/teens doing any of these things today, I think back to when I was their age, and remember people doing some of the same things. So is it really just “kids these days,” or have kids always been out of control? Let me paint the picture for you, and then you can tell me if you think I’m wrong…

One of my girlfriends brought up a situation with a friend’s son who got left out in the cold (literally) for coming home past curfew. Curfew was 11:00 p.m., and he decided to show his face at 12:20 a.m. at which time he rang the bell, knocked on the door, and nobody let him in. It’s winter, so it’s definitely cold outside. However, before he left, the mother said something to the extent of, “When you come home past curfew, don’t even bother knocking on the door because you will not be allowed back in.” So this reinforces my belief that not following the rules is a common occurrence for this young man. Apparently, he thought his mother was bluffing when he decided to stroll on back to the house at 12:20 a.m. He kept blowing up everyone’s cell phones in the house, and leaving messages explaining how cold it was outside (he wasn’t dressed appropriately for the weather), and how he was sorry and should’ve gotten home on time (uh…ya think?!).

Now, if this had been my first time hearing of this type of behavior exhibited by this person, I probably would’ve had some sympathy for him. But it wasn’t. This is the same kid who up and left last summer to spend a week at the beach with his friends after his mom told him he could not go. This is the same kid who decided to throw an underage drinking party in the rec room of his uncle’s condo building (unbeknownst to the uncle). This is also the same kid who swore up and down he would do better, behave, change, and prove everyone wrong once he started college. However, his mom received notice that he’s in jeopardy of losing his scholarship and failing his freshman year. So my response to this situation was in agreement with the mom choosing to let him stay outside…all.night.long. When she left for work the next morning, he was still sitting on the porch (you can judge if you want, but I laughed…yup, I sure did).

So in this debate discussion I had with my girlfriends, it was insinuated that the mom was wrong for leaving him out in the cold. That maybe after a couple of hours, he should’ve learned his lesson and have been let back in the house. We also discussed the fact that kids don’t understand things like curfew until they get older and become a parent themselves. I have so many questions. Why didn’t he call his friend to come back and get him? Why didn’t he walk to the metro and either camp out there, or take it to a friend’s house? My thing is this: when you have young men like Trayvon Martin getting shot at for just being a young black man that “looks suspicious”, you have really got to do better. You can’t continue to act as if you can roam the streets all hours of the night, and not have the potential for serious consequences. Thankfully, nothing serious happened in this case, but that is the reality of the world we are living in.

BMWK — Do you think this situation is specific to kids being raised in this generation? Was the mother right for leaving her son out in the cold until morning, or should she have let him inside the house?

 

About the author

Christine St. Vil wrote 149 articles on this blog.

Christine St.Vil is co-author of the Whose Shoes Are Your Wearing: 12 Steps to Uncovering the Woman You Really Want to Be. A happy wife to an amazing hubby of 8 years, and homeschooling mother of three, she teaches moms how to FLY (First Love Yourself). She uses her corporate background to work with women who are ready to start a new business, accelerate their career growth & design a life they love. She's on a mission to help moms to battle the mom guilt epidemic, so they can begin to put themselves first on their never-ending list of priorities.

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