Instagram Tutorial for Parents

Do your kids use instagram? If that is the case…NEWSFLASH! You need to get on instagram and get to know the platform, watch this week’s episode to see some essential privacy settings, and make sure you are keeping your kiddos safe online.

The thing is, this is one of those areas where modern parenting and old school parenting needs to co-exist. We live in a modern world with social media influencing everything from the clothes we buy to the way we pray. If we use social media regularly, depending on what we scroll through, our mood is effected. What we see on a daily basis has power.

With that being the case – and as a 42 year old woman – I understand that what I see is not always real, right, or legitamate. My child, on the other hand, does not. Kids believe everything they see online. This morning, for instance, my son said that “Nike is for basketball, Under Armor is for football, and Adidas for soccer.” I said, “I don’t know about that – a lot of NFL players wear Nike.” He said, “No mom, its true I saw it on the internet.” I of course replied, “Don’t believe everything you see online.” And he laughed as if I was insane.

The fact is though, our children are IMPRESSIONABLE. Teens on instagram are flooded with images of other teens, celebrities, and lifestyles that are often NOT ACCURATE. Beyond that, kids are brutal mean on social media.

SOAP BOX RANR ALERT: I’ll be honest with you, when I hear a parent say, “I don’t even understand instagram…” (or any platform) I want to scream. Guys, this is our role – protect the child, teach them right from wrong, provide food/shelter/love, and most of all GET IN THEIR BUSINESS. Ask questions, insert yourself into their lives; this is what we are supposed to do. We aren’t supposed to act as if we’re too old to understand what they are in to. We are supposed to figure it out because guess what, if it can harm them — you need to know! And if you hadn’t already gotten this memo let me spell it out for you one more time – SOCIAL MEDIA CAN BE A NEGATIVE, HURTFUL INFLUENCE IN YOUR KIDS LIVES. Figure it out, learn the new thing!

It’s like my fave comedian, Sebastian Maniscalco, says – GO IN THEIR ROOM. In a recent comedy special he was talking about how different parents are today vs parents in this 80s. His parents were in his business. His mom going through his drawers, checking under his bed, looking under the mattress. That was her role – to make sure he wasn’t up to no good. And if he was, to steer him in a better direction. Now, from the sound of it, he was steered in a better direction with an old school approach. My husband often refers to his dad’s belt as his teacher growing up.

I am not suggesting you beat your kids — but I am 175,000% for you GETTING IN THEIR BUSINESS. I am absolutely on board with making it known that I love the daylights out of my kids and I want to know everything about them. I certainly want to know what kind of posts they make on social media and if they are INAPPROPRIATE I will make them take them down. I want to know if there is an a-hole bullying my kid online and if there is I want to speak to her parents.

I’m not satisfied with kids being in charge. Kids are not in charge. YOU ARE THE PARENT, YOU ARE IN CHARGE. So if they won’t let you see what they post on instagram…guess what – there is something wrong. They should not have instagram. If they won’t let you in their bedroom…guess what – there is something wrong. You need to get in that room.

Sure, maybe it’s normal stuff. Maybe it’s things they think are “private” and you see the thing and say, “Ok, kiddo – no biggie…” Everyone has something. But MAYBE IT IS A BIGGIE. Maybe it’s a bully shaming them, maybe it’s a boyfriend talking super dirty, maybe its an arsenal! Our JOB is to protect, teach, guide, and LOVE. It is OK if the kid doesn’t always like you. If you’re doing your job right, your kid WON’T ALWAYS LIKE YOU. Accept that and move on.


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