223 likes.

527 followers.

We know that Instagram numbers matter to our daughters.

You are so perfect.

Love you so much.

The feedback our girls receive on their Instagram posts matters even more.

But does your daughter know what matters to you when it comes to her presence online?

We’ve given our girls permission to have an Instagram account, but are we teaching them how to appropriately represent themselves on the popular social media site?

Instagram offers us a great excuse to communicate with our daughter about our family value system. Talk to her about how she posted images and words matter. Help her understand that what she does and says online makes up her reputation.

1. Selfies

There simply isn’t a need for turning the camera around on yourself, puckering up your lips and posting such an image. I’m all for girlfriends posing and making silly faces together, but let’s raise confident girls who don’t need to post continuous photos of their faces. Just say no to the solo selfie.

Teach your daughter that posed selfies are unbecoming and unnecessary.

Daughter-selfie-stick

2. Provocative swimsuit photos

There is no need, at any age, to show your body online to anyone no matter how cute or fit you may be. Living in Arizona where the sun always shines means girls are constantly in bikinis poolside. I have asked my daughter to be mindful of posting photos online of herself, alone or with friends, in swimwear.

When we vacationed at the beach last year, my daughter asked me to take some pictures of her and then asked me to help her pick appropriate ones to post. The only images of her in a two-piece that appear on Instagram are ones that I have taken and we approved together.

Teach your daughter the importance of modesty online.

Modest-Instagram-Swimwear-Teen-Daughter-Post

3. Her entire life

We should all be living our best life offline. Social media should only contain a fraction of the goodness that is really going on in our lives. All of us know people who post every detail of their days online. We know where they are, who they’re with, what they’re doing and what food they are eating. There is nothing interesting about the person who puts every minute of their life continuously on social media.

Teach your daughter to think of Instagram as a snapshot of her life not a diary of her entire existence.

4. Images to hurt another

My daughter knows I don’t think it’s a good idea to post big group photos of girls at parties because someone will inevitably be hurt by the fact they weren’t included in the fun. Not worth it. I ask her to always think of others before posting something on Instagram. On the other hand, I also tell her that she can’t always worry about how someone else might react to her photo either.

Teach your daughter that if she questions whether she should post something, to trust her instinct and forgo it.

5. Material Purchases

This is an absolute no-no. Never post new shoes, new clothes, new electronics, new anything. Who cares? We want to raise kids of humility who aren’t defined by the things they own. The haul and unboxing videos on YouTube are a prime example of what not to do.

Teach your daughter that social media is to be used for highlighting her relationships and experiences, not to brag about purchased material items.

teen-girl-iphone

6. Inappropriate comments

Not only do people view our original posts but they also see what we comment on friend’s pictures.

A teacher alerted me to some smiley, yet off-color comments that were made on one of my daughter’s posts. She talked with her and explained to the other girls why they needed to rethink and remove their comments.

Teach your daughter to understand that the comments she makes and receives matter as much as her posts.

7. Anything negative

College admissions officers will absolutely pull up our daughter’s social media accounts one day. Questionable language and negative posts can make the school of her dreams hesitant in accepting her a few years from now. Help your child understand that how she represents herself online today will matter later.

Let’s teach our daughters that how they represent themselves on social media can affect their future positively or negatively.

Yes, the likes, followers and positive feedback all matter to our daughters.

Teaching self-worth, modesty, empathy, humility and appropriate communication matter to me as her mother and I’m using Instagram as an avenue to instill these important values.

21 replies
  1. Lynnette
    Lynnette says:

    These are fabulous suggestions! I have two daughters, ages 14 and 12, and I worry a great deal about the slippery slope of social media, especially for girls. I remember being a teenager and how difficult it was to feel good about myself in the dinosaur days before online sharing. I cannot even imagine trying to navigate the tricky waters of teenagehood (especially as a self-conscious girl) in a culture of likes (and unlikes) and shares. I also have three boys, ages 18, 16, and 8. We have made it a family rule that the kids don’t get social media accounts until age 16. Of course, they hate that rule, especially my 14-year-old daughter. But I feel strongly that they need to develop a healthy sense of self-worth before I set them loose on Instagram. Hopefully, we will be a little closer to that goal by age 16. Of course, each parent must decide what they feel is best for their teens. But I will definitely be teaching mine to follow the rules that you outlined in this post when the time is right for them to jump into Instagram. Thank you for your words.

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Hi Lynnette! I commend you for not allowing social media until age 16. If we would all do that our girls would be much better off I believe. It is a very slippery slope for my 14 year old daughter for sure and such a waste of her time and energy! Thank you for reading and commenting my fellow friend of five!

      Reply
  2. Diane
    Diane says:

    Been reading your blog for just a short time and your wisdom is spot on. I always leave your site feeling a little better, and with a new idea. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

    Reply
  3. Amalia Buckley
    Amalia Buckley says:

    Hello,

    Thank you for your informative message. I agree that it can be a waste of energy and negative if it isn’t used properly.Social media to be used as a reward. Like playing online games, they come with responsibility and clear understanding of how to use them. Can’t run from social media it is what surrounds our kids today. All you can do is educate and keep kids informed in a understanding manner.

    Reply
  4. Karen gillon
    Karen gillon says:

    I agree with this post 100%. My daughter is almost 16 and has had social media for a couple of years. How do I reel back in a strong willed teen who already takes selfies and bikini posts? I do share with her how those things are unnecessary and send wrong messages but she eventually goes back to posting them:(. I wish I had this information to share with her 2 years ago.

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Hi Karen! I love what you have to say and can feel your pain as a parent. If you looked at my daughter’s social media feed now at 15 1/2, there is a bikini shot or two on there now. Ugh. I think all we can do is speak truth to our daughters and help them navigate it the best they can. Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

      Reply
  5. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    why can’t you just let your daughter post whatever she wants? seriously, i don’t see you worrying about what your sons post, let these girls do what they please. if they want to post a selfie, LET THEM POST A DAMN SELFIE, it’s not that deep. i’ve got nothing against you, but i believe these girls should be free to post what they want.

    Reply
  6. Shanon
    Shanon says:

    Most of these are terrible. Teach your daughter confidence and let her post that cute selfie without guilt. Let her feel pretty, and teach her that you don’t have to be modest and “cover up” (or show out off) to be considered beautiful. It’s not her job to dress appropriately as to it make others uncomfortable, or ward off creeps. Teach her to hold those people accountable, and take them to task. Teach her that she doesn’t need to do anything to please, or make anyone more come just because she is a girl.

    Reply
    • Kate
      Kate says:

      No kidding. I would like the author to clarify if she has these rules for her sons and if she doesn’t think there’s a bit of body shaming going on with the “no selfies, no bikinis” rule? If you have a problem with bikinis, I think it’s pretty hypocritical to let her wear that out in public (where EVERYONE there can see her) and then say “But not on the internet, sweetie.” What a strange double standard.

      Reply
      • Amy Carney
        Amy Carney says:

        This has nothing to do with body shaming at all and everything to do with respecting yourself and others online. There is absolutely a difference in what you should post online versus how you authentically live your everyday life in the world. I wear a bathing suit on the beach, but I don’t post pictures of myself in it. My sons don’t post on social media but if I needed to have the same conversation, I absolutely would.

        Reply
  7. Michael Ewing
    Michael Ewing says:

    Great information and guidance Amy. Self respect and reputation are nearly impossible to rebuild after realizing you’ve made a mistake. This is something we want to protect our children from. Think before you portray or post something that may hurt yourself image or encourage detrimental posting by others.

    Reply
  8. lee
    lee says:

    then uh may i ask, coming from a 15 year old girl, what’s the problem with showing yourself in a bathing suit? it’s not slutty, in this day in age people should be able to express themselves without being shamed, especially at such a young age. if your daughter feels good about herself wearing something she likes, then let her be herself rather than restricting her confidence just because you don’t agree with it. it’s your responsibility as a parent to keep your child safe, so nobody is going to hurt her as long as you keep an eye out for her. at the same time let her have freedom to discover and express herself too; she’ll learn easier that way. i know i’m only young and i still have a lot to learn but it really does feel kinda awful when you finally find something you feel good in but you’re not allowed to shine through confidently with it because someone who is meant to be loving and supporting you doesn’t think it’s appropriate.

    Reply
  9. S. Stone
    S. Stone says:

    I suppose young men are the exception?
    If you don’t have boys I can understand why you may not be comfortable trying to blog about boys, but they aren’t exempt.
    Quit trying to enforce a separate standard. If it’s right for girls to be modest, it’s right for guys to be modest.

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Modesty is a value for all. I actually have 4 sons but I didn’t write about boys in this post, because it doesn’t apply. I’ve never seen my sons taking selfies or commenting to their buddies that they look gorgeous… beautiful… so cute. We can act like there aren’t separate standards, but unfortunately, there are.

      Reply
  10. jenny
    jenny says:

    Amy, whilst I do agree with most of your points I see nothing wrong with taking selfies as long as the person does not become too dependent on the compliments they may receive. Taking solo photos, even if they are not posted, are a great way of expressing yourself and making memories.

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Absolutely agree! Nothing wrong with taking selfies for fun! Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment Jenny.

      Reply
  11. Abby Cranfield
    Abby Cranfield says:

    Hello. Instead of some worried mother, oh no my daughter has instagram, it’s making her behave badly, it’s affecting her life…
    I’m a teenage girl. I’m 14 and, yeah, I have Instagram.
    I just wanted to say that as a parent, it is inevitable for you to be concerned. You didn’t have any of this growing up, and although you would be much happier if your daughter doesn’t have any social media, just remember that the world you lived in as a teenager is not the same as now. I also understand that you want to restrict her from all sorts of things that affects her “presence online”. But let me tell you, you are in the minority for viewing selfies as “unbecoming”. I know half of the moms hated those things when they became a thing, but it’s not even a big deal. The more you place rules and restrictions on things, the more likely she is to want to hide things from you. Since pretty much all the parents and teachers and adults hate social media, they would have tried to make an effort in teaching the teenagers the harm it can cause. Most teenagers have seen this everywhere. They know what it can do, okay? Adults are so not used to it and it’s so new to them that they only see the bad aspects. Maybe next time you tell your daughter not to take a selfie, ask if you can take one with her. You might see it’s not so bad.
    lmao bye

    Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] If you use Instagram for yourself and your business, you are responsible for the reactions and long-term consequences of your posts. But if you’ve got children, make sure to check your sons and daughters Instagram and delete content that run your children in trouble in the long run – if I had a daughter, I wouldn’t allow her to use Instagram at all or  only post under a private account. But you do you. Here is a helpful post you might want to read about protecting your children on Instagram: 7 Things your daughter should not post on Instagram […]

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