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kids using instagram

Lesson Learned: Kids and Instagram

By Wendi Aarons

Alpha Mom Lesson LearnedLast week, when my 11-year-old son S. asked if he could sign up for an Instagram account, I was a bit surprised. He’s been a big fan of video games for years, but this was the first time he seemed interested in social media. I figured he wanted to try out the popular photo sharing service because he’d seen me use it for the past two years. But that wasn’t the case at all.

“All of my friends are on it,” he said. “So I want to be on it, too.” I guess I should have known. He’s reached the age where that’s the number one reason for doing anything.

But after a day or so of thinking about it, my husband and I decided it was okay. Compared to Facebook or Twitter, Instagram seems fairly harmless. From my experience, it’s usually just pictures of people’s fingernails, food, cats or kids and there isn’t much commenting. And although my friend Maria has had some minor issues with her middle-schooler using Instagram (which was detailed in this Wall Street Journal article by my Twitter pal Katie Rosman), I figured we were at least a year away from any bad tween behavior. I figured wrong, but that I’ll get to in a minute.

S. opened his Instagram account on his iTouch, using his Hotmail address that we let him have to email with his grandfather, and he immediately started “following” people. Mostly his classmates, but also a lot of professional athletes. I imagine it’s pretty thrilling for a kid to suddenly feel like he’s interacting with his sports heroes. Then he posted a couple of pictures of our cats and eagerly waited for people to “Like” them. It was kind of cute.

However. However, I then took a good look at the accounts of the classmates he was following and it was a total eye-opener. S.’s bio just said he was in the 5th grade at xx xx Elementary, which I made him immediately erase because it was too personal, but his classmates’ bios actually detailed their dating statuses. Kids who I remember peeing their pants in Kindergarten now describe themselves online as “Taken!!” or “Single and Wants to Mingel!” (sic) and most of their photos are selfies taken in their bedrooms or dance poses where they have one leg lifted to their heads (seriously, enough with that pose). It was shocking because I had absolutely no idea that 10 and 11 year-old kids were already “dating.”

I was also taken aback by the comments the girls were leaving on their male classmates’ pictures. Things like, “Your so hott!” and “I lurve you!” and “Txt me pls!” (Hopefully the bad spelling isn’t indicative of the quality of their education.) Even more disturbing, I found an Instagram account called “xxx_is_ugly,” with “xxx” being the name of one of S.’s 5th grade classmates. Whoever owns the account has posted pictures of this girl with fairly nasty comments, presumably without her consent. Mean girl internet stuff at this age? Really? Maybe I’m just behind the 8-ball.

I then went through S.’s list of followers and found quite a few suspicious accounts that I blocked. Nothing overtly porn-ish, although that’s easily found on Instagram, but the people who have 5,000 followers and have yet to post a single picture. Then I made S. change his account to “private,” to help control with whom he interacted. (Which he didn’t like because his goal, as is that of his classmates, is to get as many followers as possible. Our 9th grade neighbor has over 18,000 followers and all she posts are pictures of herself and her hairbrush.)

Within a couple of days, S. grew tired of posting cat pictures and moved onto funny visuals he found on Here’s one of his favorites:

Kids using Instagram

The immediate Likes he got for this stuff was addicting and he was soon posting up to 10 “funnies” a day. He constantly checked his iTouch. I guess I can understand his excitement because it’s like telling a joke in school and having the popular kids laugh, but it was quickly becoming a problem. Finally, one day, after the third time he kept us waiting so he could check Instagram, we took his iTouch away for 24 hours. On the one hand, I was pleased he was interacting with his classmates in a new way (well, mostly), but on the other hand, the 11-year-old brain might not be ready for the constant feedback and gratification that Instagram gives.

After that, my husband and I weren’t sure if we should let him keep the account. But then two things happened that made the decision for us. First, I read this article by Rebecca Levey on Mashable that said it was illegal for kids under the age of 13 to have an Instagram account due to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Say what? I admit to being completely clueless about this because it was the first time our child had even ventured into social networking and so many of his classmates have accounts. For that oversight I feel a little foolish.

The second thing that happened was S. was locked out of his Instagram account this past weekend and told to go to their desktop site and upload a picture of his government-issued ID to prove he’s over the age of 13. Apparently, this happened to quite a few users and is due to Facebook’s (the new owner of Instagram) privacy policy changes. When S. first opened his account, he was truthful about his birthdate and was therefore flagged as illegal. (His reaction: “Darn it! I should have said I was born in 1992!”)

I admit it crossed my mind to just upload my own ID and let him keep his account, but I didn’t. Rules are rules and it’s a good thing for him to learn. (And it saved me from having to be the meanie who keeps taking his iTouch away. ) His Instagram account is now inactive and he knows he has to wait the two years until he’s a more mature 13 to try it again.

As for me, from now on I’ll know to do my due diligence whenever my kids want to start using any social networking app. I’ll also utilize some of the tools the website NetSmartz has for parents as well as their online safety pledges for kids. Sure, a pledge may seem a little silly, but that plus a social media discussion will reinforce to the kids the seriousness of the situation. I’m also going to insist they tell me their passwords (we already keep the iTunes password secret from them so they have to ask us before they download anything on their iTouches) so I can periodically check what they’re doing. Our Instagram experience was definitely a good lesson on both the good and bad I can expect in the coming years when my kids are online.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go check my Instagram account. I posted a cute picture of me with my hairbrush this morning and I want to see how many Likes it has.

Pin for Later

Last week, my my 11-year-old son asked if he could sign up for an Instagram account. This was definitely an eye-opening experience for me and my husband and taught us an important lesson about our kids online.

About the Author

Wendi Aarons

Wendi Aarons is an award-winning humor writer and blogger who lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and two sons. You can usually find her at

Wendi Aarons is an award-winning humor writer and blogger who lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and two sons. You can usually find her at Wendi Aarons, The Mouthy Housewives or starting fistfights near the 70% off rack at Target.

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  • Betsy

    January 23, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    Wendi–I am so grateful that you, like the Starship Enterprise, went boldly where I had yet to go. I’ve been dealing with this exact issue. Now I’m armed with some concrete information. BTW–love your cat pix. Never stop.

    • Wendi

      January 23, 2013 at 5:49 pm

      Thank you, Betsy! And Cat Pix 4 Life.

  • When I Blink

    January 23, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Absolutely love this. Hilarious and TRUE. (And I agree:

    I am going to share it with friends, teachers, etc. 

    What a weird world we live in that we have to think through these things… I’m grateful for parents (like you) whose kids are just a half-step ahead of mine, so I can learn. Thank you for this.

    • Wendi

      January 23, 2013 at 5:30 pm

      Thanks for the nice response. Unfortunately, it’s a learn as we go process with a lot of this tech stuff.

  • Liz

    January 23, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    I was just reading this bogger’s experience last week with her Instagram account being lifted by a presumably unsupervised 13 year old girl, who started behaving like a sociopath. Her point that kids will just find a new social network if their parents closely follow their Facebook (or whatever) is scary and true. You never really know how many different accounts your kid might have.

  • Anne

    January 23, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    GROAN.  One of the great benefits of being old is that your kids are also old and in college or beyond.  But mention of the “Single and wants to Mingle” status and the pictures of the girl and/or her hairbrush almost make me a little wistful for the surreal (and terrifying) experience of life with tween and teenagers.  

  • Ann

    January 23, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    I found the bullying part most upsetting. What a world.

  • Kacie

    January 23, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    Oy. And I thought parenting toddlers was hard. Tweens and teens are a whole ‘nother league. You did good, there.

  • Alison

    January 24, 2013 at 10:04 am

    Our family is having a very similar experience with Instagram and our 11 year old daughter. One other bothersome aspect: she can follow TV shows and reality-celebrities on Instagram (they often share a photo and then a long, fan fiction account of the show’s plot) when normally we wouldn’t allow her to watch these shows on TV. Since Instagram is only accessible on smart phones and small devices (our daughter accesses it on her Kindle) it’s easy for the kids to sneak watching it too.

  • Jon

    January 24, 2013 at 10:17 am

    My 11 year old boy & girl have asked about this a couple of times. Thanks for the tip, I’ll keep putting them off.

  • Jo Ann

    January 24, 2013 at 11:35 am

    I am slowly being dragged into the Social Media world with my kids. Ages: 11, 9, 8. The 11 & 9 are boys, the 8 yr old is the girl. When the boys got their touches, all they did and have done is download games. They iMessage me and each other, but that’s it. When my daughter got her touch, within 3 days, she had figured out she can iMessage and Facetime her 3rd grade friends. The boys still don’t care. We had to immediately make rules that Facetime was the same as the phone and she had to have my permission before initiating or accepting. It is a very scary world !  Thank you for driving the road ahead to warn of the obstacles and roadblocks.

  • Isabel


    January 24, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    This month we have been reading NurtureShock in the Alpha Mom Parenting Book Club, and one of the things that really stuck with me is that “secretive behavior” starts much sooner than we expect. Research shows that it starts around 11 years old, peaks at 14-15 and then is actually lower by the time your kid is 18. Oy vey.

  • Jeannette

    January 24, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    Great post, Wendi! Most of my son’s friends have had Instagram for a while and they are 10-11. Aside from all the issues you mention, many kids are also using a chat app via Instagram and start the “secretive behavior” Isabel mentions in her comment. It’s getting tougher and tougher to monitor and set boundaries.

  • Arnebya

    January 25, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    My daughter opened an account on my husband’s iPhone, then rarely checked it. But. We got her a cell phone because she’s on the bus more this year and we allowed her to open the app there (she’s 12.) Although she hasn’t posted any squeeze your boobs with your arms, pucker your lips and take a selfie in the bathroom pictures, I became uncomfortable with some of the ones that seemed to be taken after I’d told her to put the phone away for the day. She had way too many followers she didn’t know, even being private. And worse, the girls on her feed are some of the nastiest little…they aren’t posting apporpriate pictures or sayings. I went the route of closing her account AND removing the data plan from her phone. I wish it would have dawned me sooner, the idiocy (for our family) to let her have the internet in her pocket, but I’m glad I figured it out before she got the idea to take bathroom pics in her drawers.

  • Tara

    February 4, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    my nephew is 12 and loves Instagram. I follow hima and he posts the same sort of funnies, however, the girls in his school that he follows post a lot more mature stuff and use the same bad spelling that you noted. I wonder if he recently got locked out of the account, that’s great they are doing that

    • Titi

      June 17, 2014 at 1:23 pm

      That ‘bad spelling’ is called slang.  
      And seriously people? If you overprotect your child now, then they’re just going to feel isolated, like you don’t trust them. Overprotecting won’t help them when they are grown up and living on their own , because they will be relying on you all the time. They need to learn to look after themselves!;)

      • Faith

        June 16, 2015 at 10:57 pm

        THANK YOU!

        Okay. For all you people that say having an Instagram, or any social media for that matter, is inappropriate and not safe, you clearly don’t realize how safe they can be if your child is being responsible. They can set their account so that only people they know can view their posts (by making the account private in settings), and that really is helpful. Personally, I have an Instagram, and my account is set private and I have no complaints about anything inappropriate. If your child happens to see something inappropriate, they can just block the person that posted it, or, if it’s really bad, report them. Besides, sheltering them from the real world is not healthy. They go to middle or high school, and trust me, the environment there is not exactly “Kuddle” appropriate. Your children need to know how the real world works anyway. Even if they see something online, such as cursing in the comments (if they don’t want to block that person), it’s not like they’re going to go around cursing at people. Keep in mind your child needs to be responsible though, I’m not just saying that you should hand a four year old an iPhone and tell them to go crazy on Instagram or Twitter, but just that you don’t give your teens enough credit. They can handle themselves. Unless your child is a complete idiot or not mature enough, I think they can handle it. They’re the ones who decide to follow random people. They’re the ones who decide to be on it 24/7. They’re the ones who decide not to have a private account. Instagram’s not the one telling them to do that, it’s just themselves. There’s not automatically going to be super inappropriate things on there unless it’s your child that wants to follow those kinds of accounts. If that’s the case, I suggest immediate counseling. It just comes down to how much common sense they have. Oh, and about “Kuddle”… It’s not even that different from Instagram if you have a private account, except you ask yourself if you know them instead of the phone asking you if you know them like you’re an idiot. In fact, the only difference is that no one is on Kuddle and it’s an embarrassment to have one. Besides, think about your poor middle schooler asking their peers if they had a Kuddle account. Yeah. Not good.

    • Fairytale

      February 19, 2015 at 11:24 am

      My daughter is also 12 and she has her own instagram an facebook. I decided to use parental control software to protect her. Of course I don’t wanna block her insta and fb account but I control her time of using internet with PCWebControl. I think it’s a good idea if you take care of your kids.

  • […] numerous requests – and despite reading this and this – I (along with my wife) agreed to allow my son to get an Instagram account. It seems […]

  • Christine

    June 25, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    Why do smart parents let their children have so much technology they are not ready for? My boys are 10 and 13, do not have a cell phone, nor any electronic device glued to their hip. They are technolgy savvy, but do not need this compication and diversion in their lives. It is of no benefit. The situation the author was discussing about her son is nothing to laugh about. Studies have shown sites like Facebook rewire our brains and they become addictive. Furthermore, people who are on these web sites are not happier because of them. For the majority the opposite is true.

  • […] us (tech savvy web geeks) are such freaks about it. As I lambasted SnapChat and we discussed the dangers of Instagram and Kik messenger, she pointed me to and said it was her teen’s favorite site—and […]

  • […] Her biography continues, “In my life before yoga pants, I worked as a copywriter and for a couple of movie studios like Warner Bros. and Walt Disney Pictures in L.A. Then I had kids and stopped contributing to society. In the past couple years, my humor pieces have been seen at McSweeneys, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times (quoted), The Stir, Fresh Yarn, Parentwise Austin, BlogHer, AustinWoman, KUT, HybridMom and many other places I can’t remember because of my raging Benadryl and chardonnay habit. (But I do remember that I’m a regular contributor to the wonderful website AlphaMom.) […]

  • Gigi

    November 17, 2013 at 4:04 am

    Thank you for this- I had to read it loud to my son who is 11 years old. I found out today that he has Instagram and his classmate told him sign up for this. I ask him how did he sign up and is he aware of the rules. He used his school email address he said and didn’t even read the agreement. I told him to deactivate immediately and never sign up for any social website without our permission. I told him it’s not always cool to be on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Not even cool to follow his classmate advice just to win a friend.

  • Mary McDonald

    March 5, 2014 at 11:42 am

    I was planning to use Instagram filters as a “tool” for a tween photography program this summer. I googled “Using Instagram with Kids” thinking I would find all kinds of fun projects using the filters and producing fun artsy albums. Yikes! It is all this terror. My kids are grown- it had slipped my mind what a minefield all of this social networking is for younger set.Having huge second thoughts and OOOps! the summer program flyer has already gone out to the old fashioned printer. 

  • S

    April 9, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    Someone needs to teach kids about respecting the intellectual property rights of other people so they stop posting things on Instagram that they have no legal right to post. Besides it being against the Terms of Service, one of these days a kid’s going to steal the wrong image and mommy and daddy will be whining that he/she is just a kid and that they (the parents) shouldn’t be legally responsible for the thousands of dollars or legal action.

  • Bella

    April 15, 2014 at 1:08 am

    Lol I love that photo

  • Magaiy

    May 14, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    I’m so glad I read this! My daughter is the same age and in the fifth grade. She wants one really bad, I’m glad I can give her a more reasonable, “NO!” She’s just not ready. Thank you so much;)

    • Erza Scarlet

      March 31, 2015 at 2:20 pm

      your right say NO to your daughter

  • Maureen

    June 6, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    Great article. Thank you. Have a 5th grade boy wanting Instgram and I said no and am sticking to it, especially now that I know he is underage. Just another reason to be sucked into his Itouch and not doing something better!

  • Jenessa

    July 30, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    My 13 year old daughter has Instagram on the conditions that we are allowed to check on it, however she can’t post anything innapropriate as she has allowed her granma to follow her. My mother (her granma) lives 3 hours away so it is a great way to keep in touch. She doesn’t have her account on private and therefore has aquired 700 something followers but she hardly ever posts selfies. Her friends from less well brought up areas and schools however post extremely provocative pictures and my daughter often says how they “beg it” off boys. I think it’s ok for some to have instagram but not others! Depending on how responsible they are!! 

    • lojean

      March 31, 2015 at 11:36 am

      700 followers is too many , even if she is not posting pictures.  These (strangers ) following her can talk to her via private message… change her settings ti private and make sure you know the friends following yiur daughter!  Better safe than sorry!

  • […] Lesson Learned: Kids & Instagram (Alpha Mom) […]

  • BJ

    March 4, 2015 at 7:26 pm

    In Australia, our politicians are only just getting around to some legislative fencing for this minefield, I don’t believe in suppressing freedoms but when your market is young kids lacking experience in relationships, judgement and life generally, you are going to get a pretty crazy environment. Facebook et al need to face up to their responsibilities a little better rather than exploitation of the young just to popularise (then commercialise) their product. The area of identification needs attention but these companies know the cost of processes and compliance can be a party dampener. Exclusion really dampens their party.

    Very informative blog Wendi!

  • Sangita

    March 19, 2015 at 11:35 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this experience! Truly appreciate it as I just had that same request from my 11 year old!! Blessed that I decided to research first and came across your experience.  What a world we are in – kids “used” to play outside and play games, now I guess they feel lost without electronics!  Thank you once again.

  • Erza Scarlet

    March 31, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    this was great story you told i dident read to the end but i’ts already so good and i hope your child quits this instagram i dont use it because of the same reason witch is the bullying and bad stuff 🙂

  • BP

    May 5, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    My experience is that it is MOSTLY kids on instagram. The only people I know who use it are my 12 year old daughter and ALL of her friends. We have checked her account from time to time to see what she is up to and its mostly tips on doing your hair and nails from other tweens. Not sure why, but this SM outlet seems to draw the younger crowd much more than others do.

  • Hannah

    May 25, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    Recently my 10 year old went for a sleepover, with 2 freinds. 1 of them had an instagram account . She showed my daughter and the other girl the app, and they instantly wanted it. When my daughter came home she hung around me with her iPad , where ever I went she went. I asked her what was up and she said ‘please can I have this game . I took her iPad and looked at the game. What is this, I asked. It’s called instagram, she said. After a quick check around the photos, I realised it was social. No! No social stuff till your 13, I realised. For weeks she was stroppy, and my husband is too soft. Maybe we should download this app thingy she wants, he told me when my daughter was in bed. But its social media, she is 10 years old, i replied. Yes but it could be good for her to interact , he said. Ok then, you sort her out , but dont complain if you don’t like it, i said. The next day my husband downloaded the app. My daughter screamed with exitment as it loaded, but then screamed with horror. It needs an email! She cried. My daughter does not have an email. Well then you can’t have it, I said happily. She stomped off, and my husband moaned at me. I will make her an email, he said. I frowned moodily and left him. He called our daughter downstairs and said he made her an email . She thanked him and entered the email and her name. Then it loaded…… She started looking at her freinds profiles and commenting on their pics. She uploaded a pic of her pouting, and she waited eagerly for a response. 1 boy commented “your a little hotty”
    She put back, thanks hot babe! I checked her account and saw all these things, and showed my husband. He said its just kids having fun, and i need to chill out. I was annoyed at him, and this put tension on our marriage. She constantly went on instagram , and I peered over her shoulder to see what she was doing. My husband said I should give her space to do her own thing. I couldn’t bare this much longer! I snook on her iPad and looked at her pics. I noticed a girl, a very pretty girl, with long blonde hair and brown eyes had been posted by my daughter. My daughter has long blonde hair and brown eyes, but this girl was not her! She said this is me am I pretty, in the comments ! I was at breaking point. I deleted her account and took away her ipad. She now has her ipad back, it was only takes away for a couple of days. This was months ago, and yet i still get grief. So instagram put stress on the whole family. I broke up with my partner , and this is partly because of instagram. Dont get the app !!!

  • kate

    June 10, 2015 at 9:33 am

    Children (14 and under) should not be on social media. It is not worth the risk. There are way too many risks with social media. Why put your child in that potential danger. 

  • […] app, owned by Facebook, has been known to shut down accounts by users they believe are not 13. One mom explained how she allowed her 11-year-old son to set up an account before realizing that it was in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, […]

  • Kaydence

    August 9, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    I like instgram all the funny videos

    • cindy

      September 16, 2015 at 6:29 am

      I let my 13 old have an instagram account because he was trustworthy. He was currently reading lots of books and so he decided to make a fan page with instagram having to do with art. Thought it was great and innocent. It started that way….but when your child is young, they are not mature enough to have the technology world in their hands. He learned from other KIDS about cutting, swearing became cool on line etc. He started to cut himself because it was the way he learned from other kids to deal with stress. Talking about parents and how much chores, grounding, how bad his parents are is cool he learned. I was shocked to find out what some of his followers (that were buy the way ANIME for kids) were about. 13,14 is way to young to have even if you think your kids are responsible and trustworthy. Mine was….but he was so influenced by “friends”……I now worry, have him in counseling etc. Please don’t give instagram or any other social media to your young kids…and yes…14 is still a young kid.

  • […] app, owned by Facebook, has been known to shut down accounts by users they believe are not 13. One mom explained how she allowed her 11-year-old son to set up an account before realizing that it was in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, […]

  • Sabrina

    November 3, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    Hi guys,
    I have a few words to say. Instagram is ok for kids 11 and over. Several reasons why, you can have the account private so that only people that your child follows or knows can see there pictures and comment on there photos. Also, it’s a great way to interact with peers and friends, my 11 and 13 year old both begged for Instagram so they could look at celebrities accounts and talk to there friends while sharing pictures. I monitored there accounts and it surprised me that they were being nice and responsible children and were causing no harm to themselves or others. If your kids don’t have any way of communicating they won’t know what to expect in the real world when they move out and go to college. My opinion is not to hold your child back from socializing and letting then have Instagram because it can be monitored! Don’t worry kids aren’t as bad, inappropriate, or misbehaved as you think!??

  • Moms, wake up

    January 31, 2016 at 8:41 am

    Do any of you clueless parents realize how much PORN is available for anyone to peruse on INSTAGRAM? Do you not know that your kids can punch in an innocent hashtag and all kinds of garbage instantly appears. It is ridiculous and some of you should have your heads examined….IG is NOT for children. Period.

  • Jen

    February 12, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    Completely agree with the mom above and actually my google search on inappropriate Instagram material is what linked me to this post. The last two weeks I’ve been delving further into Insta, instead of just posting cute pics of my kids and following mom bloggers. To say I’m stunned doesn’t begin to cover it. When you go to the trending section, which I had never done until recently, there are countless – countless! – images of hardcore porn and naked girls. There are 15 second videos of masterbation and girls pleasuring each other. Close-ups of female genitalia. The other day I reviewed a very harmless hashtag trend only to find a close-up video of a man in the midst of ejactulation. Ladies, for the love of God, please get your kids off of this app. It’s disgusting and I promise you they are seeing far more than you could ever dream up. I literally thought I was going to vomit when I discovered this material out there in the open, among all the innocent photos of home decor, babies, and pretty meals. It’s not a laughing matter. I have an 11 year old boy and honestly he will not be on social media until he is out of the house and supporting himself. It’s our job to protect our kids from this filth when they are under our care, not download the app and lie for them just so they can be cool.

  • […] To be clear, I’m not saying that kids shouldn’t have any cares or responsibilities. I’m a big fan of chores, reasonably high expectations, and community involvement. Those aspects of maturity are healthy for kids to get familiar with early and often. It’s the over-scheduling and the “Rated M for Mature” world that I think kids deserve to be shielded from. The taking away of recess and art class to make time for test prep. The thong underwear made for tweens. The social media world that encourages social ranking and cyberbullying. […]

  • Ana

    February 7, 2017 at 3:30 am

    I find that kids who are on social networks a lot and seeking so much gratification at such an early age are at big risk, I speak from experience. They need real relationships and real things to do. It’s like TV or any electronics, 1 hour a day and get outside and play and get into safe programs to burn off energy. Kids should be kids and not exposed to dating, it is just a license to abuse. What parent in their right mind would say here is my kid do what you want to them? When you say okay to dating and to freely floating around the net that is what a parent does. The human brain does not even mature until they are closer to 25 and today that is even debatable. All the reasons Chantelle below lists are all the exact reasons not to do instagram or snapchat and at such a young age. One kid we know, he is really a good kid, he posts over a 1000 posts a day, so much so his own friends had to block him, clearly he needs another outlet. If you can not be honest about who you are and need a user name, other than for example a user name for some mission you may have, and again that is not kids stuff that really needs to be thought through more, you need to stay far away, because frankly you never really know who is replying to you. As for that hate stuff, kids get too much of that at school even from teachers themselves. Talk to your kid and you will find they spend a day trying to sift through a lot of crap just to learn, to they really need that on a social network too? Another consideration is the more expensive a phone the more options your kid has to get into trouble with like nude selfies of themselves and each other, face it that is porn and minors at grave risk. Limit the phone and it takes care of a lot of access. There are a lot of perverted kids let alone adults pushing for these nudies and most of it as a result of dating and trying to look cool. It is really bad news when a kindergartener comes up to another one and shows them a nude photo on their phone, what is with that? I had an adult male friend do that to me in the middle of a small community library who was one of my adult sons age, and I told he that was inappropriate to get G rated and know where he was and who he was talking to, and he should have known better his parents run a church, messed up that is, he needs a real life too. Trust me besides that he seems like a a nice guy or is he, but would you want your kid on Santa’s lap whipping out a nudy on his phone to show them? These days everyone needs boundaries and not be shy to speak of them. Too many parents letting their kids walk down 42nd St these days by letting them on too much on the net, we need kids to be kids they have plenty of time to be idiots as adults, we adults should be protecting them not giving in. Even at 13 a child is not mature enough, some 17 year olds have issues and need help with navigating this stuff, predators are really saavy with kids and kids just respond, heck adults respond. Parents be aware before you spend the rest of your life helping your kids in lots of counseling, the net cares nothing for you or your child don’t leave them there to be babysat. Its all about money, if you want to know what happens to kids from having a life like this? Go to a local state college and browse around, it is shocking how they dress, talk, interact and eat, it is amazing more of them or not in the ER, and believe me our local ER has their hands full with kids on diet pills and eating badly trying to fit in college too, with their parents in tears. I have spent time praying over them and for them because the pain is so real and unbearable, the doc was concerned this girl would have cardiac issues if she continued, she was only 19, and had just turned that. So please love your kids and let them be kids, protected kids, my family devotes their time to good programs and many others do too, please use them and get involved.

  • Ana

    February 7, 2017 at 3:32 am

    It is disturbing, after all she is just a kid, you did the right thing, get her involved in other things. Bless you for caring.

  • Ana

    February 7, 2017 at 3:35 am

    If you think addict, you are right, please get help for her and your family, use a good family focused counselor and also know kids can have mental and emotional ills that pop up at certain ages, so intervene now. You have my prayers, it really matters to get involved and fast. Get the support you need and if you need to change schools, or even home-school, many a family I know did so as needed to get the help they needed. Prayers to you and never give up it is your kid and God knows you can be the best parent ever for them, no one else will care as much as you do.

  • Ana ]

    February 7, 2017 at 3:36 am

    You are soooo right! God help parents to do the right thing.

  • Rody

    February 7, 2017 at 3:40 am

    I would keep a close eye on that. We ended up on letting our 13 year old do facebook as long as we friended each other and family to keep lots of eyes, it was nice because we started talking more and family got involved and friends were supporting each other. Yes I would sign in and I still do and will do so until she is 18. She still tries now and then to step over boundaries but now she talks about it all and is working and meeting more responsible people, she now sees the dangers that at 11-13 they just can’t. Even adults can not be too careful. My facebook I only use for family, as for my friends I just email or twitter and with purpose, other than that I am busy living to spend that much time on the net.

  • Rody

    February 7, 2017 at 3:42 am

    So right, keep your kids safe and give them real lives not on the net. Prayers to you and get good counseling for your kid and yourself it makes a real difference to get support for the child and the family that is family focused.

  • Ana

    February 7, 2017 at 3:48 am

    You get grief because that is a complement for being a good mom, stick to it and get support, and tell your husband that my daughter ended up abused physically because of the same attitude. Get family focused support for your daughter and your family and it will make your marriage stronger. A dad should never say they are just having fun, that kind of fun is perversion. Our daughter to this day, now 5 years later has regrets and is haunted by these people, she has a good life now and we make sure she keeps it that way. My parents were dumb to let me roam the streets and have a boyfriend as a child, it was abuse and neglect they allowed me to have. Call me a prude, call me religious, that is okay, I care plenty for my kid and yours. Prayers to you and tell your husband to take the helm of the ship with God before the ship gets torpedoed and you all sink. Parents need to know if your kid gets abused it is your neglect. Sorry if my words are strong, I just really care.

  • Sarah Stockley

    April 19, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    I also allowed my 11 year old to have Instagram as all her friends are on it. She said she would just post nice pics but all she’s posted so far are selfies and rate me type things. Some of her classmates don’t have private accounts and post swear words etc. Now I know there is an age limit. I think I will have to block it. They are not mature enough to be on there!

  • Mister Pixel

    July 29, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    First, it’s an iPod Touch, not iTouch. There’s no such thing (unless it’s a cheap Chinese ripoff).

    Secondly, my wife and I have been against social media for a while. Yes, our daughter came to us when she was 11 and 12 asking for some type of account. We refused. Then showed her that no social media company allows children under 13 to sign up anyway and that we will discuss it then.

    Well, 13 just happened. And we have decided to allow Instagram. It must be private and we must be allowed to monitor it. I have full access to her phone and have restrictions set in place with iOS.

    This does NOT block her to access of seeing graphic content with a hashtag search. This is something that these social media companies need to address.

    However, the other thing my wife and I cannot control is her friend’s access to unfiltered internet access which is alarmingly the majority.

    Rule #1 – YOU, as the parent, are responsible for what your child has access to. You are failing your kid by not taking the correct actions. It’s not the social media company’s job to protect your child.

    So, do the best you can to communicate with your child about the bad side of social media. The dangers. The cruelty. The inappropriateness. Also lay down the rules. You are their guardian until they are 18. So either you allow them to have these things with rules to follow or you don’t allow it at all.