Wednesday, May 13, 2015

WyldLife Wednesday: The Dangers of Instagram

Written by Julie Clapp.

If you’re a WyldLife leader, you’re probably on Instagram. It’s the social media platform of choice for our middle school friends, so if you want to communicate with them, Instagram is the place to be. (We use Instagram to tell kids about WyldLife club, but we use Facebook to tell their parents.)


A recent Time magazine article talks about how girls (and especially middle school girls) are using Instagram. Rachel Simmons writes “Girls have quietly repurposed the photo-sharing app into a barometer for popularity, friendship status and self-worth.”


I recognized most of the behavior she describes – a week doesn’t go by without a steady stream of birthday collages, often from 20 middle school girls all calling the same girl their BFF. And I’ve heard girls in the lunchroom talk about how many likes their posts have received.


And it made me wonder about my own interactions with girls on Instagram. Do feelings get hurt when girls aren’t followed by our WyldLife Instagram account (or my personal account)? Can I contribute to the competition if I like a post by one girl but ignore others – simply because I didn’t have time to look at them? Perhaps an “all or nothing” philosophy is required. As a leader, I want to be for all kids, and I don’t want social media to even unintentionally communicate anything less.


I’d encourage you to read the article and join me in thinking about the impact we can have on our middle school friends – even on Instagram. 


More Reading About Instagram

  • Here's another recent article/video by ESPN called Split Image. It's about a college freshman who seemed to be living the dream on Instagram, but struggling on the inside. It's a hard reminder of why kids need the hope of Jesus. 
  • And another article from Christianity Today: Why xxxChurch No Longer Supports Instagram

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