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Instagram.  It’s a great app to share your life in photos with others, unless you are a parent.  In that case, it’s a nightmare.

Parents with children who are not of driving age used to be able to sleep soundly.  Our inevitable years of worry would surely come, but not before we get to watch countless episodes of Real Housewives for a few more stress-free years, right?  Wrong.  My oldest son downloaded the instagram application.  Bless his heart, he asked for permission.  Worse, my husband approved, thinking it was some sort of game.  Three days later, my son had 126 friends in his profile and I was knocking on his door asking for his password.

In a nutshell, I am not a fan of Instagram for kids.  For three reasons:

1.  Cut back on the self-portraits.  I’m pretty sure your friends know what you look like, and moms and dads everywhere are not fond of seeing the toilet in the background of those bathroom mirror shots.  The peace fingers and pouty lips are, well, interesting, though my sister and I still can’t grasp the mouth-open, furrowed-brow look that makes it appear our kids ate beans for dinner.  Mind-boggling.

2.  Too easily can someone post hateful words.  Face it, half of these comments would never be spoken if the recipient were standing in front of them.  So much for kids fearing the consequence of disrespect, because they slam others for anything and everything, for everyone to see in all its glory.  And bad language to boot.  I’ve seen the A word.  The B word.  The D word, F word, and more.  Believe me, some of these kids are not reviewing the alphabet.

3.  By default, I’m now on Instagram.  I’m busy enough with a full-time job, a blog, facebook & twitter.  After learning my son was instagramming several innocent photos a day, I created an account to monitor his actions.  I check it each evening before I drag my sleep-deprived self to bed.  If you asked him, he would say I am ‘instastrict’ with a set of rules that must be followed.  Those rules include no name-calling, no giving out your home number on the site, no accepting followers you don’t know, keep your profile private, and for pete’s sake, do not post photos of your mother without my consent with a caption that reads, ‘Gotcha.’  At least not before I’ve applied some lipstick.

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Instagram will not be my only headache as a parent, it’s just the newest.  When I was young, it was the jeans with the ripped knees that irked my father, or the pierced navel that I revealed when I returned home from college.  These days, our worries as parents hit home on a larger scale, thanks to technology.  So here I am, trying to give my son some independence and I’m a stresscase.  With 36 followers.

Bring it.

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