Instagram has created a wave of instaemotions for our kids today. This social media app has normalized sometimes rude behaviors and allows kids to become less geniune withtheir flattery or compliments of one another. I sometimes wonder if we had kids act out skits with real Instagram posts would they see the difference of how their online behaviors are very different from their real life face to face relationship interactions.
Many positive comments have the feel of the old fashion brown nosing. With add on apps like Instafriend and other ridiculous apps that allow you to monitor who unfriends you or stops following you or worse yet, allows you purchase more friends so that you can appear so popular that you're then quaranteed to at the top of the food chain. Really? That can't be possible can it? Guess what? It is and kids are making it happen not only on their own campus but now from campus to campus. The playground has Instantly gotten bigger.
It became the trend in the fall of 2011 for kids to post and quickly check for likes or validation of their wit or artsy photos. I watched how this app then took on a life of its own and started a place for disturbing comparisons and blantant remarks. Racism, sexisum and other religous stabs are made at one another with our consequence sometimes. Some of my parent friends began to follow their kid’s accounts and their friends and soon became aware, as I did, that something new was developing. Now I can see it more clearly for what it has evolved to be which is a place that is "off is limits" sometimes to judgment and is appears to be without control. Unfortunately, part of the problem is that not enough parents are having the conversation with their kids nor aware of what their kids are posting.
I speak in my workshops about how kids have shown great empathy for one another through Instagram. I saw how a teen lost their parent and reach out to others with feelings and sadness. It was heartfelt and met with honest and caring remarks from this child's peers. I believe that kids can use social media for the better and be very productive with their lives if given the right information (repeatedly) and tools to be successful with it. As for now, I'm am left wondering how will manners and caring remarks win out over impulsive and knee jerk reactions that most adolescents have when posting or emotionally venting? Many kids will grow out of this behavior or shift in development regret some behaviors. I hope so.
In the meantime, I wish parents would put curfews on phones or turn off phones at sleepovers because noting good comes from any impulsive act after 10pm when you’re under the age of 21. Does it? Why don’t we keep teaching kids how to be less rude and kinder with their written words and guide them past the land mines of emerging social media apps that clearly don’t have child development remotely considered when using these apps?
“Be The Difference You Want To See In The World” like Mahatma Gandhi or keep on shocking others for attention. Kids can choose to bee rude or be nice if they are taught the importance of this. The old threat of of "Would you want your grandmother to see your posting?" has less weight it feels like to me lately. I think we should say "Would you want the parent of the girl (or boy) you want to date to see your remark? Here is where rubber meets the road or where being rude can really dork up your life!