Might delete.

You mean don’t delete!

Ur a stunner!

LOL! Ur lying. 

Sxc! 

#Figure 

Not lying.

Yeah you are, it’s not funny.

It’s no joke. Ur so pretty 

Stop talking about urself in my comments.  

instagram selfie

God, it’s EXHAUSTING being a tween on Instagram.

Judging by the feeds of 11 and 12-year old girls I see, being on Instagram is a LOT of work.

First, you have to take a selfie in Snapchat. Don’t forget to use that special filter that makes your face slimmer and your eyes bigger.

Then add other filters in other apps to give you a tan, stretch out your legs and give your photo just the right look.

Probably do this 10 or 12 times until you get a photo you’re happy with. You might want to turn the flash on, so your face isn’t visible in the photo, just your body.

At this stage, post your photo to Instagram with the caption, “Might delete“.

This signals to your friends that unless they are sufficiently effusive about your photo, you will delete it in a fit of self-loathing.

Only the most liked photos with the most comments and outlandish compliments are allowed to stay on your profile long-term. Although periodically you delete all but one of your Instagram photos, anyway, because your hairstyle is SO LAST YEAR. Ideally, only leave photos up that have 100 or more likes. You don’t want to look like a loser.

Once you post, you immediately “tag mainz” in your photo. Sure, it’s a photo of YOUR new outfit, or face, but that’s not the point!

In tagging your friends, you ensure that you are seen as popular (because you only tag equally popular friends). As an added bonus, those girls will see – and hopefully like – your photo. #Goals

The more comments your photo gets, the better.

Comments usually take one of two forms. First, there are the declarations of intense adoration (ily so much xxxx). Then there are those admiring your appearance (“figure!” “sxc!” “ur a beaut x“). Any comment will include a minimum of three emoticons.

Declarations of love must be reciprocated. But never accept a compliment.

Every self-respecting tween knows a compliment must immediately be rebutted with, “Ur lying” or “hahaha good joke!”. Alternatively you might deflect the comment back at the commenter: “Stop talking about urself, u beauty xx” or “Ur the hottie and u know it!”.

Should the compliment be repeated, the accepted response is to say something like, “Stop lying, it’s not funny!!”

You might want to add a crying emoticon to indicate just how unfunny you find it. Because of course, your carefully posed and ruthlessly edited photo is completely FUGLY.

Sigh.

At the risk of being unsupportive to young girls – stop being so BLOODY ridiculous. And parents? Stop letting your daughters post this crap.

I have told my 11-year-old that the moment her Instagram feed descends into this self-involved nonsense, I’ll delete her account myself.

Why are we allowing our girls to airbrush themselves beyond all recognition, adopt poses more suited to mens’ magazine covers, and hold themselves up for public judgement?

Why are we allowing them to buy into the idea that the sole measure of their worth is their appearance, and what other people have to say about it?

On the surface, Instagram looks very positive and affirming. Who doesn’t love a compliment after all?

But the truth is, it’s Lord of the Flies out there.

Who wants to be the girl who was a “mainz” but suddenly isn’t?

What happens when your friends get 100 likes per photo, but you only get 5?

What happens if the girl you tag in your photo doesn’t comment on your picture?

It’s a fairly brutal (and public) measure of your place in the social hierarchy. Girls know that being missed out of a tag, or not getting the right number of likes, or not having comments from the “right” people on their profile is as good as being dissed in the playground.

As a parent to an 11-year-old, it’s a tricky balance.

I want Flea to connect with her friends online. It’s her version of the hours I spent on the phone with friends (until my older brothers yelled at me for hogging the line). I want her to fit in, if she wants to – and what girl of that age doesn’t?

But I hate the idea of Flea feeling that she’s not good enough, just as she is.

I tell her that selfies for the sake of it are stupid. I say isn’t it better to get a comment about a great view you saw and shared, or a cake you made, or that time you went surfing and stood up? In a month or a year’s time, wouldn’t she rather look back on dorky photos where she’s having fun with her friends than a stream of pictures of herself from the neck up making a duck face? I point out how her friends are unrecognisable on Instagram, and how much more cool and pretty and great they look in real life. But I’m her Mum. What do I know?

At the moment Flea is definitely still happy in her own skin, and I thank God for that daily. She knows she’s beautiful, and she knows that her good heart and sense of humour are what truly makes her that way – not her long hair, or green eyes.

But I look at social media and I see a change that’s potentially just around the corner. And I don’t like it.

Actually – I think it’s pretty ugly.

 

 

About 

Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She's also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world's coolest ten year old.