If you’ve been reading this website for any decent length of time, you’ve probably seen me write something to the effect of, “Please do not give your children social media.” There is plenty of evidence that social media is bad for kids, and wasn’t designed for them in the first place. But the worst of all social media for kids is, in my opinion, Instagram.
I once went so far as to write an article entitled “Maybe Your 6th Grader Doesn’t Need an Instagram,” and I stand by that. My article was more about the dangers of predators and easy access to porn on Instagram, but I’ve also since covered Instagram bullying as well.
The dangers are many, but there’s another one I’d like to highlight that I had really only half-considered before, and it concerns our girls.
Save Your Daughters From Instagram
Last night while perusing Facebook (oh, the irony), I came across an article entitled “Save Your Daughters From Instagram.” Of course I clicked, sensing it was going to be something I needed to read, and I was right. The article, written by PhD and body image expert Lexie Kite, carefully detailed the pros and cons of Instagram, and how to navigate a conversation with your daughter about having her own Insta. It also revealed some very true, very haunting statements about the effects of the fabulously filtered platform on our young girls’ self-image, and this is information every parent needs to read.
Kite and her twin sister, Lindsay (also a PhD, holla!) run the website Beauty Redefined, which is “a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to promoting positive body image online and in live speaking events.”
Their mission is one greatly needed in our world today where the typical female body is still held up for comparison to a ridiculous Barbie doll beauty standard. I love their mission to teach girls to be body positive, and I think their site is a must-read for moms of girls. But let’s get back to what Kite has to say about those girls and Instagram.
Right out of the gate, Kite got me with these words:
But as a media and body image expert, I can unequivocally state that a young girl’s access to Instagram is like a master class in objectification. Taught by influencers and peers with more power than any teacher, parent or advocate, she will learn at the speed of light that she is her body, and that her body is her ticket to happiness, fulfillment, power, and love.
A master class in objectification. Taught by “peers” with MORE influence than you and I have on our daughters. That to me is super, super scary. Kite goes on to say that while “Research echoes what our own real-life experience as women with bodies and access to social media makes very clear: Social media use – especially Instagram – is associated with high anxiety, depression, negative body image, bullying, loneliness, and envy,” girls are at twice the risk to succumb to depression than boys are after they hit puberty. TWICE. So, putting social media, especially the filtered, posed, image-focused Instagram in our daughters’ hands is basically maximizing their risk for mental illness.