What happens to Tween Girls on Instagram?

Tween girls on Instagram. Here’s a sneak peek:

Might delete.

You mean don’t delete!

Ur a stunner!

LOL! Ur lying. 



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 tween girls 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 by tween girls on Instagram are a success. The ones 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 tween girls on Instagram publish a new post, they 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 by tween girls 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 on instagram 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.


At the risk of being unsupportive to young girls – stop being so BLOODY ridiculous. And parents? Stop letting your tween 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, tween girls on Instagram make the platform look 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.



16 thoughts on “What happens to Tween Girls on Instagram?”

  1. Oh this and more.

    Tops is nearly 13 and the agreement is I get full say over ALL her social media interactions.

    Yes, she posts a tonne of selfies, but not the crappy hashtags, threats of deleting and I’ve yet to see her delete her whole account. Mind you, I’m not sure I’d let her.

    Tops allows me to see her friends feeds and I despair, I mean all the crappy stuff you’ve said is what they do and more. Plus not one of them seems to be able to spell!

    After speaking with Tops and a few of her friends, I found out that I’m the only parent who knows the passwords to my daughters Social Media accounts, I’m the only parent that they tend to follow (because I get more likes than them, but it won’t be long until that’s not happening ROFL) or is allowed to follow them and this frightens me even more!

    The parents don’t know what is going on… so how can they stop it?!

  2. Oh the first half of this was hilarious Sally but I totally get where you’re coming from with the more serious side of it as well. I dread the day my girls get into all this nonsense. But I think as bloggers we are one step ahead of a lot of parents. We do know how the whole social media world works and know the risks. That makes it worse for us – we beat ourselves up and worry ourselves sick. But it is also great for our children because whether they like it or not, they’re slightly safer because of our awareness.

  3. I’m actually terrified that my children have to grow up in this social media age. I am so glad none of this existed when I was a child and I dread the day that Athena and Troy get IG accounts. This post made me exhausted just reading it – let alone living it. Like you, I’ll be deleting accounts if they ever mirror this!

  4. I have finally relented and let my 12 year old son join Instagram with me checking in on his account. He has female friends … I am finding myself wondering if myself and my friends were completely bonkers at that age and just hid it well with the absence of social media, or if social media has sent them all a bit odd.

    I am so pleased not to be growing up in the ‘eye of Instagram’. Shouldn’t they be climbing trees or something instead of posing and saying ilysm …. honestly if you are too lazy to type ‘I love you so much’ then you clearly don’t mean it.
    Crazy crazy world ….

    Stevie x

  5. Read the first half of your post with amusement and horror – because I thought you were about to say that this is what Flea does and that you see it and let her . . . Relieved to find this is not the case. I have a twelve year old son – he is not currently on any social media and not so bothered that he has asked us more than once (a year ago, when we said no) but I am worried looking into the future because I have a nine year old daughter to whom friends are everything, and who already thinks she is ‘not popular’.

    A lot of thinking and talking to her to do over the next year or two . . .

  6. This is so scary! It sounds so exhausting. When the time comes for my daughter to get a phone I will let her be on Instagram, or whatever it is kids are using by then, I don’t want her to be made fun of or miss out on things because she is the only one not on social media but I will be in total control. Everything will go via me. No is going to destroy my daughter’s self confidence by liking or not liking selfies. And we thought we had it tough as teenagers.

  7. Oh God yes. I’ve been worrying about this of late. Far too much reposting of images asking others to rate what they think of you too, or ‘competitions’ to see who wins the best looking. It seems to be all so vain, about looks, and I’m not happy right now. BUT I don’t want to be that mum who bans social media. I just need to find the happy balance. And the time to make that happen. I guess everything else on my very long to do list has just slipped right down :/

  8. Thank you! I had no idea what half of it all meant! Plus, I see girls I really like describing each other as “fit AF” which shocks me. The day my daughter does that I’m getting her a non-smart phone that only does things like text me.

  9. The world of social media does scare me for my daughters, and you are right about how exhausting it must be. Parents have a new challenge in this digital playground their children are using today and building awareness and self esteem are key, as well as encouraging responsible use. I’ve been very lucky with my teen son as he hasn’t really embraced social media, but I don’t think I will be so lucky next time round. Teaching digital distance is going to be a focus I think as my girls grow up

  10. It saddens me how true this is – I follow my friend’s daughter who is the same age as Flea. I follow her as an extra pair of supportive adult eyes. And yep, all these conversations happen. And as you say, it’s so painfully public.
    I totally agree with you about deleting her account if it descends into such utter self obsessed drivel. It makes me want to keep me own kids off social media for as long as possible

  11. I have a few daughters of mums I’m on parent council with who are a little older than mine and I don’t follow back as the whole thing scares the crap out of me. They are so negative and everything is all doom and gloom. I want my boys to feel good about themselves and not feel they have to prove anything or be something they don’t want to be. I think boys are a little different when it comes to looks, but not always. Social media is a great thing for keeping in touch and being heard, but not when it’s done in a negative and making people feel bad about the beautiful person they are. I read your post and know it’s around the corner. I feel for parents of tweens and hope we can help educate our children. Hugs xx

  12. When I was 12 I was going on bike rides with my older brother, flying kites with Dad and baking with Mum. I mean it all changed when I hit 14 haha but God I do feel sorry for our kids who have so much pressure on them. Having a boy of a similar age brings with it its own … challenges, but it’s all quite sad isn’t it? Great Flea is so confident in herself – long may it continue.

  13. My children are too young for instagram, but this little glimpse in to our possible future is terrifying. What started out as quite a funny post really does have a serious side. I don’t ever want my children to think that their worth is based on how many likes or comments they get on social media. As if tweens and teens didn’t already have enough to think about!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *