Why My Tween No Longer is Allowed to Use Instagram

Continuing our Kids and Technology series: Instagram is a popular photo sharing social app. We originally let our tween get an account – read on to learn why she no longer is able to use it.

I’ve been on Instagram since the beginning. I love the personal aspect of sharing photos. It’s replaced my previous photo sharing site Flickr (yes, I should back up my photos there more, but anywhoo…) The ease of taking a photo, choosing a fun filter and sharing with new friends and old = FUN. Of course my family is on there, so when my daughter, then 10 wanted to create an Instagram account – I thought what’s the harm, if I make it private…. WRONG!

Instagram Rules for My Tween

What started out as something innocent, soon became something I realized she was just not ready for. With the world today, we had a heart to heart with our daughter about what to share online and what not to share online. What photos to take and what photos to take and share. There would be no bikini or swim suit photos. No pajama photos. No embarrassing your brother photos. She would use Instagram to keep connected with her family and a few friends that we knew. The rules were set. Here, use your iPod touch or the iPad – but remember the rules. 

So, I setup her account on Instagram for her. I told a few family members who had Instagram to friend her (and to let me know ASAP if anything inappropriate was going on!) Her account was open and all seemed fine and well for the first month or so. Or so I thought.

One day I grabbed her iPod to do something and went on Instagram. WOAH. Her follower count was in the hundreds. How did that happen when her account is private?   Her profile photo was of her. For some reason, people were wanting to follow and she was letting them. The followers – well there were several guys who were no where near her age. And then older girls, which had me curious to if these were really older girls or older guys posing as girls. None the less – this was defeating the purpose of her having a private account.
Tweens on Instagram

NEW PLAN.

Technically, she had not done anything wrong. She hadn’t broken the rules – so I wasn’t going to punish her for breaking the rules when she didn’t. New plan, we created a new account – with new instruction – if a friend wants to follow you – I’ll be the only one to approve friends. Deal? DEAL!

This plan went well. No weirdos friending my 10 year old. She had a private account. Well – then I walked by her one day and saw her surfing Instagram. She was looking at the POPULAR feed. Have you ever looked at the popular feed? Some of those Instagram photos are quite risqué. At that moment, my mom alarm set off. This isn’t something she needs. I had totally not thought about this element at Instagram, because quite honestly I had never looked at it and never in my mind thought that she would be exposed to anything out of her maturity level .

#MOMFAIL – THIS MOM WAS TOTALLY WRONG! I ADMIT IT!

Sorry kid, because of this I just can’t let you on Instagram. I’m sorry your friends have it. I’m sorry I initially let you on it, but sweetie – you are 10 (then) and your mind is just not ready for this and you don’t need to be exposed to this much of the world quite yet. When you are 13, we will talk about this again.

I know she is upset. She loved the platform, and well we caught her on it a few times too many after telling her no. Unfortunately, she just isn’t old enough or mature enough to handle it.

Disclaimer: If your tween is on Instagram, I totally am not judging your parenting! For us, it was just too much too soon — unfortunately.

I do admit, I miss her pics in my feed. Tweens are quite entertaining in photos.  See example a and example b:

what_tweens_instagram

tween_instagram_pics


What Are Your Thoughts on Instagram and Tweens?

  • Show Comments

  • ellen

    My 12 yr old niece has instagram and I have repeatedly warnedher folks to monitor it cllosely. Their answer is they want to trust’ her and dont monitor.
    I think youre very wise in removing the privelege heck there are adults who cant control themselves!

  • Dana Vaudrin

    I’m one of those moms who said zero social media until you’re thirteen. The platforms ask you to confirm your age and I wouldn’t allow either of us to lie about it. On his thirteenth birthday, we set up Facebook and Instagram. Like you realized, I had seen these dangers and so we began talking about these things long before he ever got a profile. I have his password, but I don’t log in often. Sometimes I’ll sit by him as he scrolls through and we’ll chat about friendship and stuff. Thanks for raising awareness about this. I think a lot of parents don’t see these hidden dangers.
    I’d also add that parents should be aware of the location tagging aspect. I haven’t been able to find a way to remove a location tag from a photo. I wasn’t comfortable with our home being tagged in pictures (even if you rename the location something clever, there’s still a pin). So, we turned off location services as well.

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