Instagram, the social media that lies

Instagram photo

Our daughter surprised me when she said she didn’t believe Instagram should be available to teenagers, and in particular girls who are prone to image issues which are common at that age.

For what it?s worth, which is actually nothing, Instagram is restricted to kids who are at least thirteen years old, which in my daughter?s opinion is still way too young.

Knowing she uses Instagram for both business and personal interests, my eyebrows raised and I thought to myself “I’m supposed to be the killjoy in this conversation!”

Maybe raising her own children has changed her perspective, or perhaps she has simply beaten me to adulthood on this issue.

She went on to explain that she uses Instagram as a marketing tool to promote her business, with good success, and also as a personal social platform to inspire and get inspired by others, but it’s the personal aspect that she objects to for youngsters.

She asked if I remembered when she was bullied at school? Who could forget! It was heartbreaking to know that my teenage daughter was spending every break in the first term of her first year of high school in the girl?s toilets. We, her parents, were forbidden to interfere. She would handle it, she said, and she did. She made her first school friend in the toilets and learned the art of keeping her head down.

She went on the books of a modelling agency at age fourteen because she loved the fashion industry, free clothes and makeup and the money from photo shoots and modelling assignments to spend on more clothes and makeup.

At high school, she was a tall poppy and a target to take down. Vicious texts, nasty comments and lying stories circulated, at which point she became invisible. Instagram wasn?t around then but now that it is, it?s the perfect platform for bullying.

She was a professional model, albeit a schoolgirl, the following year when she chose not to participate in her school fundraising fashion show. She had finally achieved acceptance and didn’t want to resurrect the ire of the mean girls.

Instagram is all about image, and an image is so easily manipulated. Vulnerable young women can remove their flaws before posting photos. Bad skin or bad hair day, a larger bust size, no problem for Instagram. But misrepresenting yourself, effectively making yourself a mythical person, has such awful consequences for a young woman’s self-respect and confidence. Airbrushing a young woman?s image does nothing good for her self-esteem.

It is also where the lying begins, but it gets so much worse because you can buy yourself a bunch of followers and likes! That’s right, purchase followers and likes. Instagram appears to be turning a blind eye to the practice, but hey, who can blame them when they?re in it for the money?

Instagram shots are digitally enhanced to make the photo perfect. Kids buying into this fake reality is concerning because they are buying into unreality and fake ideals. A series of gorgeous settings posted on Instagram is only a snapshot and unreal snapshots at that.

Here is what Instagram would like us to think posts are all about:

Vanessa doesn’t need to go to the gym to produce a perfect ass for Instagram.? All she needs to do is digitally enhance her photo as has been done to the second of the two photos taken 30 seconds apart – pretty amazing transformation huh?

Before and after – 30 seconds apart photos.

And here is another photo showing the true background in the second photo.

Instagram photo and photo showing the actual background

A person with a large following is called an influencer and this is exactly what the young and naive aspire to because an influencer receives fame, lots of money and free stuff.

There are companies out there who do nothing else but improve Instagram ratings. They will supply followers and tweak their posts to give the best opportunity for ?success?.

There are dozens of companies just like the one below who will take your money and give you an instant following as does this one which promises to deliver your following within 24 hours.

Buy Instagram followers

Being famous could be addictive to the young and impressionable and very lucrative for those who succeed.

For every artistic soul just wanting a platform for their artwork on Instagram, there are probably hundreds of thousands of young women expecting personal endorsement to bolster their confidence. They are going to be disappointed.

Wendie Aaron?s eleven-year-old son asked for an Instagram account, despite not having previously shown any interest in Facebook or other social media platforms. When she asked him why he said. Quote.

All of my friends are on it,? he said. ?So I want to be on it, too.? I guess I should have known. He?s reached the age where that?s the number one reason for doing anything.”? End of quote.

Wendie said: Quote.

Instagram seems fairly harmless. From my experience, it?s usually just pictures of people?s fingernails, food, cats or kids and there isn?t much commenting?? End of quote.

Until she began reading posts from her son?s peers on Instagram. Quote.

Kids who I remember peeing their pants in Kindergarten now describe themselves online as ?Taken!!? or ?Single and Wants to Mingel!? (sic) and most of their photos are selfies taken in their bedrooms or dance poses where they have one leg lifted to their heads (seriously, enough with that pose). It was shocking because I had absolutely no idea that 10 and 11 year-old kids were already ?dating.?

I was also taken aback by the comments the girls were leaving on their male classmates? pictures. Things like, ?Your so hott!? and ?I lurve you!? and ?Txt me pls!? (Hopefully the bad spelling isn?t indicative of the quality of their education.) Even more disturbing, I found an Instagram account called ?xxx_is_ugly,? with ?xxx? being the name of one of S.?s 5th grade classmates. Whoever owns the account has posted pictures of this girl with fairly nasty comments, presumably without her consent. Mean girl internet stuff at this age? Really? Maybe I?m just behind the 8-ball. End of quote.

Mean girls have been around for decades Wendy, this is just another platform for them to use and eventually they will also learn to troll the kids they don?t like.

Wendy learned how to block suspicious looking followers on her son?s account. She was horrified when her son became addicted to the constant feedback and gratification that Instagram gives, and had to restrict his access just so his normal life could resume.

She dithered over whether to close his account but this decision was taken out of her hands when he forgot his password and couldn?t produce ID to prove he was over 13. Instagram closed his account.

Wendy?s son should be grateful that his mother was so keen to protect him from being manipulated by Instagram, but like most kids, he probably resents the parental interference.