One Mom’s Insights On Instagram

Instagram and Tweens Guide one mom's insights

As a wired family we embrace the use of technology within reason. When it came time for my middle school daughter to join a social network she instantly gravitated toward Instagram. She’s nearly 12 1/2 and I’d say at least half of her friends are on Instagram. Now that’s no reason to jump on that particular social media bandwagon, but I was comfortable with it once we covered a few basic ground rules. Today I’m sharing this mom’s insights on Instagram.

I was ok with her joining Instagram under a few stipulations:

  • Our daughter has a private account and does not divulge any details about where she lives or attends school.

  • She can only become friends with people she knows through school, family, church, Girl Scouts, etc.

  • Her dad and I both follow her account through our accounts and regularly comment/like and interact with her on Instagram so that we are visible parents to her peers

I also have Miss C “turn her phone in” on school nights by 9. She doesn’t have any electronic devices in her bedroom after bedtime.

As a general rule, I think Instagram is a fairly safe segue into social media for tweens and teens and technically it is intended for ages 13 and up so parents should be aware of that age recommendation. Most tweens and teens and their peers today aren’t embracing Facebook. They’re interested in Instagram, SnapChat and Kik.

I haven’t let Miss C open a SnapChap or Kik account, although several of her friends have accounts. As a parent I want to be able to monitor her digital conversations and Instagram allows me to do so. Any social media activity that touts it can “vanish” is not one I want a soon-to-be teen using.

Personally I really love Instagram as it’s very visual. Established in 2010, think of it as an extended Twitter but with pretty visuals (from photographs to graphics.) It’s a very clean and easy to navigate photo sharing app and you can go crazy with the hashtags, no 140-character limit like Twitter imposes. A lot of fashion and photography bloggers use Instagram and it’s visually a treat. I actually met a fashion blogger at a local event last week who doesn’t even have a Twitter account (gasp for all us old school social media types.) Facebook is like a traffic heavy interstate. Instagram is like a scenic road trip. Tweens, teens and brands that rely heavily on visual marketing love the Insta. And honestly these days what brand doesn’t rely heavily on visual marketing?

More than 90% of the 150 million people on Instagram are under the age of 35, which makes it an attractive platform for many apparel, entertainment, and media brands focused on the 18- to 34-year-old age bracket.

social media monday

Here are a few discussion points to talk to your tween before they open an Instagram account. Just with anything that offers freedom beyond their own home and family, Instagram and any social media activity should be a topic for serious discussion. Kids are posting selfies faster than Kim Kardashian so be sure you set up ground rules and expectations, after all you as the parent are more than likely paying for their account at this point.

Instagram Discussion Points to Have With Your Tween/Teen

  • What will you do if a “friend” posts a negative or derogatory comment on one of your Instagram pics?

  • What if someone you follow posts offensive photos or comments?

  • Be aware that your social media conversations leave a digital “footprint” that the entire world can see. Even though your Instagram account is set to “private” your content can be screen captured and shared via text, email, etc. Nothing, NOTHING, is private online. Set your privacy settings to share as little personal information as possible but don’t relax into thinking that your information is truly “private.”

  • Don’t use Instagram, or any social media channel, to bully, spread unwarranted rumors, negativity, or seek attention in a negative way.

  • Set a good example on social media. Use it to share information, make people laugh or smile, inspire creativity, etc.

  • Remember common courtesy and the Golden Rule.

  • Before you post a photo or comment, ask yourself if you would be ok if mom, dad, teachers, or even your grandparents saw or read it.

Are your tweens on Instagram? What are your thoughts? (This post was approved by my tween, by the way!)


Picking Up Marbles With Her Toes and Other Physical Therapy Awesomeness

Physical Therapy Soccer Injry

I thought I’d share a little update in the fall crutch chronicles. The big news is the crutch is oh so yesterday. Well, sort of. The boot is DEFINITELY oh so yesterday. Miss C is now wearing a brace on her left ankle. She’s still depending a bit on her crutches to steady her walk.

Today I took her to her first physical therapy appointment since she fractured her ankle 5 weeks ago and we were so pleased with her therapist. Plus the office was playing Lightning 100 and it just had a fun vibe, and I don’t think it was at all what my girl was expecting. Hurrah!

She needs to work on range of motion and strengthening that ankle. Our hope is that her left ankle will be stronger than ever and that she’ll be back on the playing field for the spring season.

Get strong girl!

I’ve got a guest post up this week on the Monroe Carrel Jr. Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital Wishing Well blog that covers the whole is it a sprain or a break question for parents. I’d love for you to read my post and leave a comment.


The Crutch Chronicles

Being a parent to an athlete means at some point you’ll learn what RICE means besides something that tastes great with chicken.

I’m talkin’ Rest Ice Compression and Elevation people. And hey we’ve made it this many years into the parenting gig without actually needing crutches and for that I am thankful.

After 8 years of playing soccer it was probably inevitable that our travel soccer girl got injured. Her team was scrimmaging against a high school team and during a defensive move she rolled her left ankle. At first I thought it may have been “just” a severe sprain but as the evening progressed it was obvious that she probably had a fracture. Her ankle was swollen beyond recognition and she couldn’t put any pressure on her foot at all. We headed to the doctor immediately the next morning and then to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital for xrays.

Miss C has just a couple more weeks of wearing her boot (and a follow-up appointment at Vanderbilt Orthopedics late next week) and then hopefully she’ll be back on the soccer field and stronger than ever for the spring season.. In the mean time, her crutches have gotten blinged out with neon duct tape and she’s collecting new autographs on her boot daily.

Here’s my girl rockin’ her new boot. Not the kind of boot she wanted to wear this fall as she navigates the halls of middle school, but she’s making the best of it!


Send us healing vibes next week as we head back to the orthopedic doctor! This is one brave, tough girl. Go Miss C!


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