Instagram is exploding, and with its only real competitor being Snapchat, people, teens are flocking to the platform. Businesses are also using the social media site to promote their products, with the percentage of businesses using Instagram rising from 48.8% in 2016 to 71% in 2018.
It’s true that 70% of posts don’t get seen on the platform, but those that do have a major impact, especially among kids.
I’ve recently written about parents overlooking the benefits of social media, but there’s also another side to social media: social pressures.
Religious modesty is also fading, with teens feeling pressured to reveal more as they post pictures to gain acceptance and validation. I’m not saying Instagram is bad because I have also seen younger generations being far nicer than when I was a kid.
I have seen pictures of younger relatives with comments like “you’re so beautiful,” and “I’m proud of you,” rather than negative comments that you’ll find on celebrity pages.
The trend of negative comments seems to be coming to a slow end.
And Instagram has embraced the teens that use their platform, even throwing an “Instagram Kindness Prom.” The prom, attended by teen influences, in the hundreds, was dedicated to teen influencers who spread positive changes and kindness in the community.
Instagram has also introduced a bullying feature that hides comments that are intended to bully people.
You also have companies like Upleap willing to help teen influencers manage their profiles to enhance engagement and connect with the right users. Positivity is coming out of social media, yet there is also increased pressures that kids need to be made aware of, too.
Bullying will occur, and Instagram’s new algorithm will help stop some of this. Kids also need to realize that those Instagram models are working on angles. A lot of the models you see on the site take pictures that are all staged.
A lot will take the same picture 50 times to find the perfect lighting and angle to make them look good.
I’m concerned about the young girls that see these models and look down on themselves for not looking like them. It’s important to tell your kids that they’re beautiful and that they don’t need to look like these models. Suicide rates have increased among teen girls, and some blame social media pressures.
But as a parent, I feel it’s important to tell my kids that others will always have negative comments. I think it’s more important to be active and social rather than seek acceptance and validation online. Yet, I also realize that social media plays a major role in a kid’s life, so if they’re going to use social media, I want them to be aware of the comments that may come.
Parents need to start teaching their kids, and maybe even monitoring them on social media sites, that the world of social media should be about positivity, not envy. Post tactful pictures, show your friends what you’re doing, but know that social media is not real life.
Instagram can also be used for a lot of good. Kids can learn to market, they can learn social skills and they can educate others. Social media can be used as a positive outlet, and I think this is what I will be teaching my children