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advice for kids on instagram

Temper the Selfies!

My kids’ first foray into social media has been via Instagram. Instagram is an easy way for me to keep an eye on Tessa and Reed and watch their tendencies, stepping in only as necessary — which it hasn’t been so far.

(I’m like Jane Goodall. She observed chimps in the wild habitat of Gombe; I observe imps in somewhat less civilized habitat of middle school.)

I watched as Tessa and Reed stepped into their virtual personae. Their virtual personae ended up consisting of….

…a crap ton of selfies. That’s all they knew to do.

Selfies, I explained, show the world how you want to be seen by others. What *I* find interesting when I check out someone on Instagram — I said in my a teachy tone I surely got from my dad –is how you see the world.

advice for kids on instagram

Why not mix up those two things and show both? I suggested. I showed them my Instagram account as an example, which required quite a bit of scrolling before a selfie appeared. “See here?” More teachy-tone. “You’re seeing the world THROUGH my eyes and not so much SEEing my eyes.”

The imps have pretty much ignored me. On the positive side, I am getting used to that.

Lori Holden, mom of a young adult daughter and a young adult son, writes from Denver. She was honored as an Angel in Adoption® by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.

Find Lori’s books on her Amazon Author page, and catch episodes of Adoption: The Long View wherever you get your podcasts.

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31 Responses

  1. Ooh, Lori, you’ve got me thinking some deep thoughts this morning. You know my Instagram’s dedicated to selfies!

    Seriously, though, that’s how it is: I express how I see myself with a mirror, but I express how I see the world with words. I feel some self-analysis coming on.

    1. You’ve done this, though, in a way that my kids haven’t. I expect selfies from your stream because you establish that very clearly.

      I enjoy seeing you this way 🙂

  2. Funny, I was just complaining to our youngest (15) about the Periscope tendency to be one long video selfie (something I noticed over the weekend, when stalking Periscope looking for footage of a NY convention the eldest was attending). I second the motion for more worldies!

  3. Okay, JK.
    But, admit it…you had a moment there where you completely lost respect.

    Truly, I love you and I am completely in awe of your parenting. Since I am “the expert” take that to the bank!

  4. So funny… teaching in middle school, I see selfie stuff all day. “Let’s take a selfie by our locker!” Etc etc. I worry that the selfie becomes representative of that total self-centeredness that is middle school, and then it doesn’t leave… Although I have a friend on Facebook who makes a strong case that the selfie can be a way to change how you see yourself and celebrate your confidence. I like the idea of a Worldie better, though, with a dash of Selfie mixed in for fun.

  5. That’s because we social media like old ladies whereas they social media like kids 🙂 This is why they won’t come on Facebook with us.

  6. And then there’s cranky old me who is philosophically opposed to selfies. Sigh. My one niece was doing a lot of them and posting them to Facebook (I’m not trying to avoid Instagram – I just don’t have time). But for her, it was all about documenting her journey going to the gym. Not all that interesting to look at, but could be worse, I suppose.

  7. I’ve never understood the selfie thing. But I’m not a teenager! Sounds like you have it all sussed. And now you have me wondering if I should get onto Instagram …

  8. When I look at a selfie of myself, I am always amazed that I look the way that I do. (and that’s not always a good thing) When I take a picture of other things I think, wow, what else have I missed? My favourites are the ones that are unexpected, because they always tug on my heart for months to come. Here’s hoping your kids selfies stay g-rated!

  9. I read somewhere that selfies are part of the identity formation process…I’ll have to find the article for you.:-)

  10. My 8 year old occasionally wants to take selfies – the rest of the time, she wants me to take pictures/video of whatever she’s doing. It’s not often enough that I worry about it…yet.

  11. Well, you tried. 😉 I’ve never quite understood the fascination with selfies either (particularly why they’re always making dumb faces at the camera), but as Mel said, I’m not a teenager. :p If I ever join the 21st century & get a smartphone & join Instagram, I will follow you. 😉

    You might find this NYT Motherlode column of interest (you’ll be happy to know they recommend starting with Instagram!):

  12. My kids (older teens and a 20 year old) take all kinds of selfies for Snap Chat, and then they tease me when I take a selfie…as though it’s not cool to do that and post it on Facebook. Because I am usually the one taking pictures of activities (I probably get this from my Dad), sometimes a selfie is the best way to make sure I am in any of the pictures…to document that *I* was there too. 🙂 Even typing that sounds like my Dad, doesn’t it, Lori? Great post!

  13. Here’s my opinion on selfies: I like them of someone is somewhere cool and inserting themselves into a larger part of the story. What drives me nuts is when people repeatedly post them just to show off how good they look.

  14. It’s a fad, but maybe one that will stay for a long time. I think it’s narcissism when it’s just of themselves, with nothing to share like being with someone special or in a new outfit or hairdo. Mostly, a sad commentary on our society today.

  15. When I catch my students trying to take selfies, I always photobomb them! “Mrs.J!!!!!!!!!!” – they are always so ticked. Get over yourselves’ I say!!! Lol! Selfies – a teenage epidemic.

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