3 questions to ask yourself before letting your child open an Instagram account
A post from one of our community...
I am a mom of 3 boys and, my oldest is 11 in the 6th grade. I am amazed by how many of his friends have an Instagram account and have had one for years. A few of my friends have also made the decision to let their children open an account. We have had some great dialogue about why they made this decision and their overall concerns that lead me to believe that there are 3 questions that parents should ask themselves before letting their child open an Instagram account.
1. Why does my child want this?
This is such an easy question yet you would be amazed by how many parents do not have this conversation with their child. It is so important to talk to them and find out the reason they want to be on Instagram. Their answers aren’t “right” or “wrong” but, they give you an insight into what your child’s thought process is with getting on this social media channel.
Open dialogue about things like this help your children talk to you more openly about a variety of issues. This question also helps them see the connection with their reasons and decisions. This teaches accountability with finances, friends, and other various decisions in the future.
2. Do I feel that this is age appropriate for them?
This answer may vary for each child and their personality. As a parent, I do not feel like it is a wise choice to give my 11 year old an account yet for various reasons but mainly because I don’t’ feel it is age appropriate for his personality but, it maybe in a few years. We can revisit it then. However, some of my friends feel that their child is responsible enough to manage this. Only you, as the parent can make that choice for your child.
You really want to take some time and think about this and not make a quick decision. This is a good time to list the pros (connecting out of school with friends, meeting new people, entertainment, etc.) and the cons (predators befriending them, following the wrong type of people, becoming a popularity contest, etc.). When you really think through the “big picture” and look at all that this decision entails you can feel confident in the choice that you make for your child.
3. What measures am I willing to take to keep my child safe?
Again, I am surprised how many parents don’t consider any type of security measures. When asking around, many parents quickly said “yes” to this without thinking it out or having a meaningful conversation with their child. Some admitted to saying yes to be liked by their child, or because, they thought their child could put up their own perimeters to keep themselves safe. Personally, I think that is putting too much faith into a child. They cannot be expected to have the same maturity level as an adult. So, they need someone to monitor their interactions and guide them in making wise choices on social media.
This is the most important part of your decision. If you don’t feel like you have the time or energy to do that for your child, then your answer should probably be no at this time. Monitoring their accounts and who they are following as well as who is following them is very important and giving them healthy restrictions. Time limits are also as important so that children do not get obsessed with following the lives of others but can enjoy their lives as well.
I know there is so much to consider and children are becoming younger and younger when they have these accounts. The truth is that there are real dangers out there and if you allow your child to get an Instagram account they need you to parent them and be involved with that choice. Asking yourself these 3 questions help you make the best, most informative decision that you can for your child.