I think "Put a shirt on!" is the modern-day version of an old person yelling "Get off my lawn!"
That's just one of the many thoughts I had in the first 24 hours that my kid had an Instagram account. My newly minted teen was pretty excited to get online, and a few months after her 13th birthday, she is now permitted to do so. (I wouldn't allow her to have one before now because I would not lie nor would I permit her to lie about her age - you can read more about that here.)
She loves Dancing with the Stars and she started following, with my permission (I know, I know), several of the participants in the show, including Val Chmerkovskiy. Of course, when I checked out his account, his last five posts were completely fine.
And I had a few thoughts I had in the go through my mind in quick succession:
- Wow, now those are some abs but I'm not sure about that wink;
- Oh wait, no, he should put a shirt on;
- I'm old for thinking that;
- My kid just sent this to me?;
- That means social media just got a lot less fun, didn't it?;
- She's too young for this and I'm too old for this;
- I'm not sure if she's trying to torment me, or connect with me;
- Definitely the former, but at least she's not shutting me out, so that's good, right?;
- Well, that should ruin all the junior high boys for me and a large portion of the high school boys for her and set completely unrealistic expectations; and
- It is only 8:45 a.m. and I haven't had coffee yet.
It led to what I'm sure is the first of many conversations about posts. I asked her to show me some of her favorite posts from that whole day that she's been on Instagram, her first foray into social media.
She's also following Bindi Irwin and really likes some of her posts because they are overwhelmingly positive, filled with gratitude, and send good messages like choosing kind.
So, all this is proof that social media is, like everything else in the world, neither all good nor all bad. As with all new things, our kids are likely capable of navigating but parental guidance when they're first getting started is not a bad thing.
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