It BLOWS MY MIND that I know 10-year-olds who have Instagram accounts. And their parents are aware of it. In my mind, this has to be the result of ignorance. Their parents have to be in the dark regarding social media and not understand how it works. I rationalize that this HAS to be the case. If parents knew what was accessible then how could they knowingly allow their children access?
So, I’ll get to my point, my zinger. My husband and I recently booked a trip to Panama. Wanting to see pictures of Panama, I entered the hashtag “Panama” in Instagram. Instead of beautiful pictures of the landscape and wildlife I hoped to see, I get a page-full of explicit photos. Seriously, several full-on vag pictures. Now, to some I’m sure I sound like an old fart. Only, I’m not an “old fart”; I’m 30. I am, however, a teacher. So I immediately think of my students who have Instagram accounts, and I imagine them innocently searching pictures of a country only to have several vagina pictures revealed to them. This isn’t uncommon. When people want page views, especially pictures of explicit photos, they tag them with common words or cities so they’ll show up with any search of those hashtags. THIS is why your 10-year-old shouldn’t own an Instagram account.
In the “Tips for Parents” section on Instagram, there is a link to download “A Parent’s Guide to Instagram”. Within this document, there are answers to commonly asked question. #2 is in regards to the Instagram age restriction.
In a nutshell, children must receive (or state that they’ve received) parental permission to have an Instragram account if they are under the age of 13. While you may believe this is to protect children from inappropriate content, it’s actually due to the Children’s Online Protection Act which prevents companies from collecting information from children. Instagram, of course, frames their service as harmless, as they benefit from ad views. But regardless, if a parent gives permission for a 10-year-old to use Instagram, they are saying it’s okay for him to access such content and it’s okay for personal information to be collected. When parents give permission for children to use social media accounts under the age of 13, or if a child lies about his/her birthdate, the Children’s Online Protection Act cannot protect them.
Click HERE for directions on how to delete your child’s Instagram account.
If you feel your child MUST have a social media account, here are 6 kid friendly versions:
Or you could just encourage your kiddo to play outside more. Get dirty. Make a mudpie. 🙂