Yesterday the 10-year-old daughter of a friend of mine asked me when I thought her mum should allow her to have Instagram.
The first thing I did was ask her why she wanted to be on it. She said that all her friends were already on it and that when they talked about things they saw and shared, she felt left out.
Don’t you remember that feeling? I so utterly get that. It’s that feeling of being out of the loop. Not part of the conversation. Not in on the joke.
But here’s what I said to her about Instagram (and every other social media platform).
I said that what we know is that Instagram (and most other social media platforms) are not great for our brains. And that they are highly, highly addictive.
I said that just like every adult I know who still smokes and is trying desperately to give up, (nearly) every adult I know is trying desperately to spend less time on their phones and on social media.
I said that while I TOTALLY understood that desire to stay in the loop that she needed to think about how joining Instagram she’d be trading one set of problems for another set of problems.
LISTEN: Robin and Bec discuss social media rules… Post continues after audio.
Suddenly every time she logs on she’ll be confronted with every party, every outing, every get-together she wasn’t invited to. And she’ll have to constantly remind herself when she’s looking at her friends’ photos that it’s their highlights reel — especially on those days when she feels her most fragile or lonely or blah.
I said that she’ll have the rules her mum and dad set her about who she can follow or friend and when she can log on. But there’ll be a whole other set of often unspoken rules that her friends make. You can’t look “up yourself’, can’t look like you’re bragging or showing off or trying too hard. All that type of thing.