kids and social media

i write often in this space about parenting.  and i also pontificate about the pervasive nature of technology in our culture.  this week, jon acuff posted a brilliant piece entitles that speaks eloquently to both subjects.  enjoy.

I have a 6-year-old daughter and a 9-year-old daughter.

A few weeks ago, they grabbed my iPhone, took a photo, and then added cats to that photo.

This is what kids do. They add cats to photos.

I then posted that photo on Instagram. It was a funny photo. I’m a dad who loves sharing how awesome my kids are. End of story.

Next morning, L.E. comes downstairs. I tell her I posted the photo.

Her first response was, “How many likes did it get?”

That is why my kids won’t use social media any time soon.

She’s 9.

She doesn’t need to be worrying about how many “likes” something she created got.

I’m 36. I’ve been to college. I’ve worked at a lot of companies. I’ve purchased a house, done my taxes and a lot of the other things you do as an adult and, even so, I have a hard time handling “likes.”

I don’t want to add that to her tiny self-esteem.

When I was in the seventh grade, a guy named Dan Smith laughed at me in the courtyard before school started. He didn’t like the shirt I was wearing. He got other people to laugh. I didn’t feel like I had a whole lot of “likes” in that moment.

But I couldn’t measure them. I didn’t count them. Other people weren’t about to see how low I was on “likes” in that moment, but with social media you can.

I don’t know how old your kids should be before you let them use social media. If you’re a parent and your kids have Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, please don’t think I’m judging your decision.

The title of this post is “Why my kids won’t use social media any time soon,” not “Why your kids shouldn’t use social media any time soon.”

I don’t have the answer for your family. I honestly don’t have it all figured out and will make countless mistakes along the way.

What I do have, though, is a recent realization that as a dad, I want to do everything I can to protect my kids from anything that will force their hearts to ask, “How many likes did I get?”

those are some incredibly fortunate children.





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