Instagram is a great way for tweens and teenagers to connect with their friends. Unfortunately, it can also cause some serious problems, especially throughout the holiday season. Wondering how Instagram could ruin your kids’ holiday? Think about this.
Competition and Envy
Do you go all out for your kids at Christmas, or are you forced to reign in your spending due to budget issues or other considerations? Unfortunately, even your “all out” might not look the same as another family’s. If your teenager’s nose is stuck to Instagram throughout the holiday season, they might just get a good look at how everyone on their friends’ list celebrates Christmas; but they might also get a good look at families who are able and determined to give their kids a larger number of material things.
On the flip side, you never know when another child is looking at your child’s Instagram pictures with envy. While you think nothing of a pile of gifts beneath the tree, another family might be very restricted this holiday season. You can’t know what another child feels when looking at perfectly innocent pictures of your child’s favorite gifts.
Focus on “Stuff”
At this age, it’s common for kids to be focused on all the things they really want for Christmas–and their “toys” have gotten more expensive. From the latest tech gadget to expensive clothes and shoes, it’s easy to see what your kids’ friends are hoping for this Christmas. In some cases, it’s as simple checking their Instagram accounts.
Instagram provides a very brief picture of what teens and tweens are hoping for–and constant exposure to things can lead to kids who are focused more on stuff than they are on the true meaning of Christmas. Not only that, a child who has just received exactly what they requested for Christmas, right down to the color and model, may lose their excitement quickly when they learn that a friend from school has just been given an even newer model.
Solving the Problem
There are several facets to the solution. Obviously, you can’t control what your kids’ friends are posting to Instagram. You can, however, help shift your kids’ mindsets throughout the holiday season. Several solutions that might work for your family:
Declare Christmas to be a social media free time for your family. No Facebook, no LinkedIn, no Instagram, no Twitter. Throughout the holidays, you’re going to focus on each other and the wonderful experiences available to you as a family, not on what other people are posting.
Focus on family togetherness, not on “stuff.” When your child’s Christmas break is filled with fun activities, it’s hard to get too upset about the items that weren’t under the tree. Go for a light ride a week or two before Christmas to see all the creative light displays. Trim the tree together as a family. Bake Christmas cookies together. Look into Christmas events in your community: what events are getting lots of attention this year?
Shift attention to giving. You can’t stop your child from posting pictures of their favorite Christmas gifts, but you can help shift the focus from “getting” to “giving.” That doesn’t just mean friends and family, either! Bake cookies for a shut-in in your neighborhood. Visit a nursing home with little treats for someone who needs them. Volunteer at a local soup kitchen or food distribution center. By seeing people who have much less, your child will be better able to appreciate the gifts that they’re given–no matter how small the collection under the tree may be.
The holiday season is a special time to reconnect. Limiting technology at this time gives your family more opportunities to spend quality time together! As a parent it is always important to set a good example during important events by turning off your phone, computer, and TV so your family has your full attention. Again, remind your kids that posting access material stuff could be hurtful to others who can view their photos on social media. It is always easier to help your tweens and teens maintain balance with technology and especially on their mobile devices when you use a mobile parental control software. This is true especially around important events like the holiday season.
For instance, Netsanity has a suite of mobile parental control services like their Timeblocker scheduler, can be used regularly to ensure that kids enjoy this important time with their family, uninterrupted. If your kids and teens habitually feel the need to check up on their friends activity, via a favorite app like Instagram, Netsanity Appblocker can be a parents best friend. You may restrict that app during mealtime, for example, and avoid the temptation for them to check their iPhone. Netsanity offers a free trial for their monthly plans, so it’s worth checking out if your child has an Apple or Android mobile device.
Netsanity was made by parents for parents. With easy to use software designed to give control and sanity back to parents, Netsanity enables a safer and healthier mobile experience for kids. See for yourself with a free trial!
Netsanity is available for both Apple and Android devices.