I can’t help but notice that many of my daughters’ friends have hundreds and, in some cases, thousands of followers on Instagram.
The artificial, inauthentic popularity contest kids chase on a quest for self-fulfillment in the form of followers and double-taps makes them easy prey for predators who actively collect and share images of children on the Dark Web (click to view article via govtech.com). While this article may seem like an extreme example, it is important to understand that there is also a market for voyeurs in search of legal photos posted by innocent kids. “Instagram: The unfiltered truth about sexual predators hunting for teen selfies”, is an eye-opening read.
I speak regularly to kids about the simple fact that there is no way to prove a person’s true identity here unless a) they are a public figure and/or verified account or b) you know the person in real life. There is no one sitting at the entrance of the World Wide Web checking photo ID’s to verify that hundreds of millions of people are who they portray themselves to be online.
As the mother of a pre-digital-age son, age thirty, and two daughters, ages thirteen and eleven, I have had two distinctly different parenting experiences and the perspective that has brought. I understand how overwhelming it can be to keep up with what our kids are doing online at all times, however, it is our responsibility as parents to give it our best shot. Checking in to see who our kids are following and who follows them on any social platform is about as basic as it gets.
Do you have younger kids who haven’t yet dipped their toes into the digital ocean? My award winning guide, “@Sophie Takes a #Selfie – Rules and Etiquette for Taking Good Care Before You Share” is a great way to start a conversation about what constitutes appropriate online behavior and avoid pitfalls.
Thanks for stopping by,