The Middle-School World of Instagram

by Colette Moran

I came across this thoughtfully written blog post by Sarah Brooks thanks to (which is a great site with articles ranging from “A New Bridge in Three Days? You Just Watch” to “Winners of the STEM Video Game Challenge” as well as the likes of “3 Nights of Disney Fandom to Include Pixar, Star Wars, and Marvel Specials”).

She offers great advice on being aware of the perils that come with the fun of the photo-sharing site Instagram which is all the rage with middle-schoolers.

We’re no longer in world of handwritten “circle yes or no” notes between two people; your kids are living social lives on a completely public forum.

This is not new information.

But, taking it a step further: have you considered that your child is given numerical values on which to base his or her social standing? For the first time ever your children can determine their “worth” using actual numbers provided by their peers!

Let me explain . . .

Your daughter has 139 followers which is 23 less than Jessica, but 56 more than Beau. Your son’s photo had 38 likes which was 14 less than Travis’ photo, but 22 more than Spencer’s.

See what I mean? There’s a number attached to them. A ranking . . .

My intent is to dig a little deeper into the impact these sites can have on your kids. To start thinking about how to safeguard childrens’ hearts and minds against what appears to a 12 year old to be concrete numerical evidence about their value and popularity.

The author had such a big response, with so many helpful comments, that she wrote a follow-up, and also this quick primer about SnapChat.

Time to go have a conversation with a certain eighth-grader in my house . . .