The Trouble with Instagram

Instagram is like marmite: you either love it, or you hate it…

If you are unfamiliar with Instagram it’s a social networking site where you post pictures and videos on an account; you can socialise with your friends; like and comment on pictures; even follow your favourite celebrities. For some people, this is a good way to keep in contact with past friends, or to message one of your classmates if you need help with homework.

But there is definitely a darker side to Instagram.

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For ages, I’ve wanted to log out of my Instagram account, but I almost found I was too addicted to it and couldn’t bring myself to log out.

It sometimes feels like a drug. I want to stop. It’s taken over my life so much that I can’t survive without it. I’ve wanted to log out of the app for so many reasons, but a main concern of mine has been friends and fellow students.

As I scroll through my feed, I see girls from my school and they’re wearing heaps of make-up and wearing the shortest skirts possible. Some girls look like they’re 23. And they’re not. Why put yourself in danger like that? 

In the comments I see things like “pretty” and “stunning”. Sometimes I wonder whether they’re just fishing for compliments.

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As a girl, I suppose I do understand: they are insecure. And so am I.

In a conversation with a counsellor, I asked whether boys, in general, like girls like the ones parading themselves on Instagram. She said they do. It broke me. I mean, I understand – who wouldn’t like someone who’s pretty? – but, one day, I hope boys like girls because of their personality and not their looks.

But I would also like parents to get involved. In fact, I think that it’s crucial that they do.

My mum’s on Instagram, and I’ve shown her some of these girls’ photos and my mum said “if I was her mum I wouldn’t let her use the app!” That has made me feel better, I guess, but is that enough?

There was a news story about 13 year-old Lucy, who was groomed and murdered at a sports centre by a guy that she met online, through Instagram, on a public account, with similar pictures that so many girls nationwide feel compelled to display of themselves. You become an easy target – some compliments and some likes and you feel great! But who are you talking with? Who are you meeting?

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This needs to be addressed.

As for now, I would like parents to get involved and I would like to see these types of images being reduced in number. Sadly, at the end of the day, everyone’s insecure but that shouldn’t mean you turn into something you’re not. As for 13 year-old Lucy, I hope people learn from that story.

Instagram is a cool app; it’s just a shame that people aren’t sure how to use it safely.

Stay safe and be happy.

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