After months (and months) of listening to Meredith plead her case regarding Instagram, Jeff and I finally caved and allowed her to create an account last night.
(Last week she presented us with an article (written by a mom) that mentioned all of the positives about letting your child create an Instagram account. It was a good article. In fact, it was probably the thing that nudged us into the “We’re now considering it” circle.)
Anyway, I know you don’t care about this, but I’ll throw it out there anyway.
These are the rules we created in order for our 11 7/12-year-old daughter to keep her Instagram account:
1. I will have all of her login information so that I can check the account at any time.
2. Her account is to remain privatized, meaning anyone who follows her must ask permission.
3. I have to personally approve everyone she follows as well as anyone she allows to follow her. (My eyes rolled into the back of my head this morning when I saw that one of the people who wants to follow her is a 12-year-old girl who describes herself as Sexy. Are they still injecting cows with hormones?)
4. If I detect any sort of questionable activity AT ALL from her, the account will be deleted. Similarly, if any of her followers seem to be overly dramatic (I do understand the difference between typical stupid drama and over-the-top drama) or inappropriate, they will be removed from her list of followers and blocked.
5. She will follow me, and I will follow her. I will NOT “like” any of her photos, nor will I comment on them.
6. She will read a classic novel every two months. (I know. This one is probably weird. I just want her to understand that she has to find a balance. Staring at Instagram for hours will not make anyone smarter. Reading a good book will.)
7. All homework will be completed before she’s allowed to jump on Instagram.
Within five minutes of activating her account, one of her friends requested to follow my Instagram account. I will never let anyone under the age of 20 follow me (except for my own kids), because I Am An Adult.
As of this morning, she has four followers from her new school, and this is nothing but great because meeting new people and making new friends in middle school is hard.
15 thoughts on “Also? None of the duck face crap.”
How did you know a bunch of us at a party last night were talking about this very thing? Here is my policy (it was called harsh and mean);
1. If you are under the age of 30, I will offer you forgiveness and grace for the Self Duck Face. We were all young and silly once.
2. If you are more than 30 years old, I will delete, unfriend and de-follow. You are dead to me.
Our 7th grader is not on Instagram but she is allowed to text. I encourage you to follow close. We erred initially a little too heavy on the “trust” side of “trust but verify.” We discovered some things we weren’t very happy with when we did look. After a lengthy suspension we are now monitoring daily. I hope it was an early lesson learned for her and for us. Good luck in this new endeavor!
Sheesh, social media is such a slippery slope for parents these days.
Got any links to articles about why grownups who don’t “do” Instagram should reconsider?
Pharm boy is 13 – his voice is getting lower and his circle is getting broader. He identifies with – and looks more like – his father every day. (Lucky kid!)
Doug French had an excellent analogy about socialization, kilns and kids not too long ago.
I’m not naive. I know that I don’t know everything about him at this age. But we’re doing our damndest to be sure that we know enough.
At this age, rules are guard rails.
I’m so confused, perplexed and befuddled about the internet, phones–actually all the electronic stuff for kids.
You said you don’t let them watch stuff in the bedrooms. Right?
I’d love to know your more fine grained rules for these things–and maybe the rationale behind them. What is the issue with instagram? Isn’t it just pictures? What would be the worry with pictures? I guess I can think of a few far fetched things.
Oh, oops. I just read my comment and I realized it sounds like I’m saying “you dummy! There’s nothing wrong with instagram!”
Noooo0–the problem is that I don’t do instagram or know anything about it.
So I was just thinking “hmmmm….what could happen?” But this is because I can’t figure out what could happen on a social media I’ve never used. Sorry for the implication!
Looks to me like you’ve got it covered. Fair. Reasonable. Sensitive. At some point Meredith will find fault with the arrangement, but you have a good relationship so you will manage to get through it just fine.
I’m just personally so glad that none of this existed when my kids were that age. Adolescence is hard for every generation, but you moms who have to contend with social media really get a double whammy.
I like rules.
You’ve done a great job with instagram boundaries, now if you could detail how you would handle septum piercing requests I’d appreciate it. Just fast forward a few years for me!
Anticipating this issue since son has a few friends with Instagram accounts and will probably have more once Christmas is over and more friends (and possibly he) will have shiny new Instagram-ready devices. He asked once and I said that the Instagram terms of service clearly state you must be 13 to have an account. His rejoinder of course was that lots of friends have Instagram accounts who are not 13 yet. My rejoinder was our family follows TOS as best we can because those rules are there for a reason. Also I want to get them into the habit of understanding what TOS are and that they should pay attention to them. We plan on sticking to this as long as we can (I will not be at all surprised if we fold before 13). I am wondering if anyone else is using this argument?
(And if it’s not clear, Angela, I fully support your trust and judgement with Meredith and I of course have ignored TOS’s all over the place).
I told OUR Meredith that she may create an IG account for herself over the Thanksgiving holiday — so thank you, Angie, for doing all the hard work for me! Now I have a set of GREAT rules to print out and present to her, with very little effort on my part. (Hey, parenting is hard enough without having to reinvent the wheel; I take help everywhere I can. Don’t judge me.)
Also, I may suggest that our Merediths “friend” each other on IG … would that be odd?
You’re a good mom! I love the book rule, I have a rule at our house that is similar.
I hope you both enjoy being on Instagram. So many positives for Meredith.
Don’t underestimate the value of letting the friends follow you and following them back. Having a broader view often lets you see the “drama” on the horizon before it arrives allowing you to help her steer clear of it before it reaches her.
Also it gets to be a PIA logging in and out of their account to audit – Gramfeed is a pretty good browser tool that helps with that by allowing you to toggle though if your going to stay the course.
– Veteran InstaMom of 3 years
I (prefer to) imagine that in order to drive the point of #6 home, you dragged out your large-print, hardback copy of ‘War and Peace’ and dropped it on the coffee table in front of her, with the resulting BOOM causing the pets to spontaneously soil everything.
We have exactly the same rules!!
Except the classic book reading part. I wish.
Except also that if one of their friends wants to follow me I let them…what can they learn from photos of feet and quilts and cups of coffee? and I learn a lot from what they post. Even if sometimes it’s depressing and I wish I didn’t.
Sometimes I wonder though… my parents certainly didn’t know everything that went on in my life at that age… no mobile phones… (I’m 44)… they knew what I told them and I did turn out just fine….
Should we cut them some slack? how much?
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