Last year we instituted our five rules of Instagram for kids. These came about when my daughter asked for her own account.
She pointed out an interesting fact.
Her brother had been on Instagram for a year by the time he was her age.
Was he? Why don’t I remember that?
We did a little backtracking and figured it out. We allowed Insta for Luke when we thought it might help him stay in touch with his friends back in Texas. He was 10ish when this went down (I know, I know way too young). A few “Mom rules” were included at that time.
Some of those standards I put into place thinking forward to when my daughter would get online. I wanted the playing field to be equal regardless of the child.
Since she is arguably the most responsible one of my kids, and hey, her brother had it at this age, we decided to let her have an account.
But I forgot to give her the rules talk. In fact, because she’s so responsible I didn’t do much of anything other than say, “make sure you follow me so I can follow back.”
Five Rules of Instagram For Our Kids
- Limit the “selfies” please. Originally I was going to ban the selfie from IG altogether, but I’ve decided I can’t do that when I share them myself. While I love a good selfie, I cringe at an entire account that is only selfie pictures. So please, kids, find other things to share online other than JUST you.
- I “own” the account. Since you are connected using the devices I provided and the wifi I pay for, your IG account is mine. Oh and since you are too young per IG terms of service (ahem), it’s mine. And since it’s mine, only I will have the password. This is one of my more brilliant moves as a mom. I see something on my son’s account I don’t think should be there? I log him out on his device. See a like or a repost of a picture that isn’t appropriate? Log out. A private message that crosses the line? Yep. Log out.
- Private accounts only. If you don’t know the person who asks to follow you, you decline. If I ask who they are or look at their account and know they do not go to your school or play on your team or attend our church: nope. Guess what? I’ll log you out.
- Your worth is not in likes or followers. Thankfully neither kid seems hung up on the numbers. My son routinely deletes his pictures after a couple of days. He doesn’t care who liked it or who didn’t. My daughter is happy just to have the ability to see her cousins and aunts online; 10 followers is exciting enough!
- If you can’t read a post or a private message to your grandmother, then you shouldn’t have written it. I read everything. Sometimes as you type it. That may be all invasion of privacy and whatnot, but I’m still your MOM. I’m watching you, Wazowski. Always watching. My son is starting to flirt with inappropriate language online (not publicly- just in the PMs), and I’m trying to give him some leeway here. Would I prefer he grow up like Steve Rogers? Of course. But I’m not shocked to see this happening, and it hasn’t been frequent enough to make it an issue (so far, anyway).
There are a lot more I’d like to include.
Like: clean the mirror before you take a mirror selfie.
Don’t show your messy room online- because then I’ll have to make you clean it more often.
Duckface: don’t do it.
Be weird, but not TOO weird online: what you post now may come back to haunt you in your Senior year slide show. The internet is forever, kiddos!
But for now, we’ll start with these five rules.
Do you allow your children on social media? Do you have any rules you want to share?