What does the next generation think of today’s issues? The Big Smoke’s Next Gen program publishes Australian students mentored by TBS writers. Today, Takodah Shea Wilson (12) responds to criticism that preteens are too young for Instagram; she’s forewarned, and forearmed.
Student: Takodah Shea Wilson
Mentor: Loretta Barnard
Topic: Preteens on Instagram – Their safety and security
Lots of people my age judge their popularity from the number of “likes” they receive on their posts, how many followers they have, and the comments they get. Personally, I use this form of social media to post various types of photos and videos. I don’t care about the likes, comments or followers – I just post for fun. I use it my way and don’t worry about what other people think. If I worried about that, where would the fun be?
One interesting thing related to this is that some girls insist they’re not pretty enough when posting “selfies” or casual photos, so they insert filters over their original image. A lot of girls do this on every image they post of themselves. This can lead to girls experiencing low self-esteem because they think they have to improve their looks by adding effects to their photos. Although it’s fun to mess around with filters, I think girls should be happy with their appearance and be proud of themselves just as they are.
Also on The Big Smoke
- TBS Next Gen: Remembering Zynab, a girl that could have been any of us
- TBS Next Gen: Should schools have gender neutral uniforms?
If you “tag” people in posts, they’ll get a notification about it and it will also appear on your “photos of you”, which can only be seen by you. The tagged people can then communicate with you through the comments. But be careful – if you start a conversation in your comments thread, anyone who follows you can see this. Private conversations should be through the direct messages section. It might sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many kids my age don’t realise it.
Safety is another important thing to keep in mind. To ensure you’re safe on Instagram, avoid trolling, and in your privacy settings, turn your account from public to private, so people have to request to follow you. If you don’t accept their request then they can’t see your stuff. And if someone is bothering you, you can block them, so there’s no way they can contact you. At least not through Instagram. That’s good, because you should always have control over who sees your stuff and not be bothered by people you don’t like or trust on social media. You really should be super careful about feeling safe.
Also on The Big Smoke
- TBS Next Gen: NSW police-youth interactions of the past, present and future
- TBS Next Gen: We’re not offended by Disney’s bias
- TBS Next Gen: Interview with DanTDM
Overall I love Instagram and use it daily. This keeps me in touch with my friends and family, especially those I don’t see very often. I have no problem with pre-teens using this app, but my big message is – use it how you want to use it, and stop worrying about what others may think.
Make it work for you, not the other way around.
This article is part of a series for The Big Smoke Next Gen.
The Big Smoke Next Gen is a program which matches professional and experienced writers, academics and journalists with students who wish to write non-fiction articles and voice their opinions on what is shaping the nation.
For more information about our program at The Big Smoke, or to become a mentor, please contact us.