Let’s teach our boys and girls some Insta-Etiquette.
I fought Instagram with my daughter. She was one of the last in her class (so I’m told). I always say it takes a village. So I chatted with parents, with my daughter and did some research. When I felt comfortable, we signed her up.
The legal age to get an Instagram account is 13-years-old, despite many of her friends younger siblings snapping and sharing.
She’s in Grade 7 and 13-years-old and along with all her other classmates, she’s cautiously delving into a world of selfie-narcisism, the search for self-validation and image rating, armed with our family house rules for online interaction.
Instagram Defined in the Tween & Teen World: A social media app letting users
- snap, edit, and share photos or 15-second videos
- both publicly or with their private followers
- You post the photo and your followers comment, share and converse about it – usually reassuring how lovely you look.
I’ve limited time, but I’m learning the #HashTags, dangers and scanning accounts. Ensuring her stuff is private and secure. But, last night a new #HashTag appeared with my daughter’s photo — not on her wall:
A boy in her grade had posted an image of her on his Instagram Wall stating she is his #WCW.
#WCW refers to ‘Woman Crush Wednesday’ (note the ‘Woman‘) and has been around for a few years. This is where men share images of celebrities or woman they’re crushing on, they ‘like’, they adore, etc. There’s also images of coffees, pets and children, but for the most part, it’s men crushing on women.
For the record, there are #MCM ‘Man Crush Mondays’ too and this advice goes both ways.
Take a peak on your own Instagram or child’s account and search #WCW and see what images appear. Welcome 50 Shades of Selfies.
Needless to say, my daughter’s mildly embarrassed. She doesn’t like the guy and didn’t ask to be part of a public forum about the merits of crushing on her. However, she’s on Instagram, they ‘follow’ each other (along with the rest of the school), so I tell her she’s fair game. But, she has choices as to how she deals with it:
How a #WCW works in a Junior High:
- Boy posts image and labels it as his #WCW.
- Other boys then comment: “onto the next girl?”, “way to go”, “lucky you,” … or it could be worse like, “why you like her?”
- What unfolds is an easy forum for hurt feelings, embarrassment, discomfort.
I’m all for crushes – but is there a healthier forum?
Let’s teach our KIDS some Insta-Ettiquette:
- Parents: Are your 13-year-old kids on Instagram? Take a look now and then and make sure they’re not socializing themselves into murky online territory. Navigating crushes, likes and social interactions is tricky enough to get right in person. Let’s help our kids along online and save them the embarrassment or worse…
- I happened to come across a post of my daughter and a few girls from her swim team, in their team change room, in a group photo… in their bathing suits. I immediately flagged this for removal from the online world and my daughter asked her teammate to remove it from her Instagram wall. She did – no harm, no foul. Her friend hadn’t realized taking images in a change-room is a huge ‘No No’ – and my daughter, caught up in the moment, obviously forgot. Remind your kids of the Rules: rules are easily forgotten in innocence at this age and it’s our job to help keep them on track.
- Boys: Ask before we post: DON’T use a girls image, photo, name online unless there is mutual consent. Maybe she doesn’t want to be labelled as your crush for others to comment about? Let’s stop objectifying girls online. Same applies for girls.
- Boys & Girls: #PTD: Please Take Down: If you don’t like an image out there, it’s your right to ask it be removed. But, you have to accept this may not happen — so be careful what image you project, what you snap and allow to be snapped.
- Boys: So you have a crush. Great on you! Now man-up and talk to her in person, have a REAL conversation. If the feelings are mutual – terrific. If they’re not, you’ve given it a brave shot, shown her your mature enough to connect in person and it’s time to move on – offline.
- Girls: BE careful what image you project. You’re posting to your future and it will be out there and most certainly shared. Don’t project an image online that isn’t reflective of you. You’re more than the sum of your body parts!
If the Dalhousie Dentistry School FaceBook posting teaches us anything, it’s that teaching boys limits and respect, both online and offline, must begin at an early age.
CommonSenseMedia offers a fab app for parents with ‘need to know info’ on apps, movies, books, games and music. Here’s their ‘Need To Know’ for Instagram, like:
“Public photos are the default … unless privacy settings are adjusted. Hashtags and location information can make photos even more visible to communities beyond a teen’s followers if his or her account is public.”
Some info on recently added Instagram features affecting your teens safety check out uknowkids.com.
Stay safe. Stay informed.