My DD Wants To Join Instagram

DD1 is eleven years old. She’s just started secondary school and we’ve upgraded her from a basic call-and-text only Nokia to a bottom of the range Samsung smart phone. She thinks it’s the bee’s knees.

She can now take photos and send them to her friends. She can now go online and watch YouTube videos. And she can now worship at the alter of the great god Social Media. Or can she?

Our problem is that all of the sites she wants to join have a lower age limit of at least 13. WhatsApp, Facebook, Pinterest and her personal favourite, Instagram. For all of these you are supposed to be 13 or over, but her friends who are mostly 11 and 12, all seem to have them on their phones.

‘I’m the only one who doesn’t’, wails my daughter. And I think she may be right.

So what’s going on? Do their parents not know there is a lower age limit to join these sites? Do their parents not care?

I don’t know, and I can’t really ask. Secondary school is not like primary school. These mothers are not my friends. I am lucky if I have their phone numbers and know their names. If I start talking to them about why their children have lied about their ages, that’s not going to come over terribly well  is it?

So I’ll stay quiet. DD will be 12 next month so she’s not going to be 13 for another year. She really wants Instagram on her phone. She has researched it well.

She has pointed out to me the first five Terms Of Use

  1. You must be 13 years or older to use this site.
  2. You may not post nude, partially nude, or sexually suggestive photos.
  3. You are responsible for any activity that occurs under your screen name.
  4. You are responsible for keeping your password secure.
  5. You must not abuse, harass, threaten, impersonate or intimidate other Instagram users.

Apart from number 1, these all fit in well with how I’ve told her she must use her time online. It seems harmless doesn’t it? And she keeps pleading. Sometimes she has tears in her eyes…

So what should I do? What have you done? And if you’ve let your child have access to Social Media and allowed them to lie about their age, how do you justify it?


8 comments on “My DD Wants To Join Instagram

  1. Just had similar discussions with L as she was at a friends house and three of the five were sat huddled round their instagram accounts (that winds me up in the first place as when they are with friends they shouldn’t be stuck to screens). She also pointed out that actually you can have instagram with parental permission, or was that Whatsapp? Anyway, I’m of the same view as you currently and she’s okay with that for now but I can see the pressure ramping up and am unsure at what point us not letting them becomes a social barrier for them – it’s all very hard.

  2. Ben has an Instagram account…I make sure that I check it every week and check out who he’s following and who’s following him. If I don’t think that it’s appropriate it comes off…too bad, too sad! He has never posted anything that I don’t approve of…it’s mostly pictures of the cat, cricket or football!! He’s not too imaginative my boy! As long as I can see what’s going on I’m OK with it…I think that when (if) he starts to get secretive that will be the beginning of the problems. One of his friends had an issue a couple of months ago with someone saying some really negative things about stuff…he unfollowed him immediately…sometimes they’re smarter and less likely to put up with crap than we give them credit for 🙂 I think though that it will be different for girls but all you can do is hope that you’ve brought them up the right way to know right from wrong and trust them! Good luck 🙂

    • I have an instagram account, so I’d just make sure I followed her as well. I know she knows right from wrong but experience has shown me that she doesn’t always go with what she knows when her friends are involved….

  3. I’ve caved and agreed for Rylan to get an Instagram account. I have told him he can’t follow and won’t let anyone follow him if he doesn’t know them. I check now and again on photos he’s posted (not many of him, as he hates taking photos).

  4. S set up an Instagram on my email account ages ago but afaik she doesn’t use it. She uses whatsapp & BBM mostly but when I check her phone most of the activity is tediously boring and she ignores chain mails and other crap like that. I really don’t see a major prob with whatsapp as you need other people’s numbers to add them, you can’t just add any old person who you don’t know. I think as long as you drum internet safety into them from the word go they should be OK (although I can’t legislate against what other people may message her, whenever she has had a problem she has told me and she said she will again if anything happens again).

    • The thing that worried me about WhatsApp is that it says it’s not to be used by kids under 16.I agree that it sounds good but thats another 4 years here before DD can use it legally and that makes me feel uneasy!

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