12.26.2014

Instagram and Image-Crafting

Instagram: Crafting Appearance


Managing (shaping and guiding) a teenage boy in this modern-day culture requires constant monitoring and observation.

Case in point: My teen son gathered his gifts from Christmas morning, as well as his brother's gifts, AND as well as some very cool things he had laying around in his room (and in his wallet).

He then pulled together this assortment into one handsome square, photographed it all, and posted on social media: "SUCCESS!"
In short order, my phone pinged with a text, "Wow! Your kid made out this year!" Really?

Thanks to other snooping parents (seriously, we all must snoop!) I was made aware of his post and able to chase down the origins of my son's (innocent?) posting.

Of course, he was just having "fun" but upon further meaningful discussion with him, isn't it more likely that he was showing off, bragging, trying to be cool, hoping he'll be liked, keeping up with other cool "stuff" postings?

While he was NOT actually saying, "This is all of my awesome expensive booty from this Christmas morning" (a sin of commission) he was in fact misrepresenting and insinuating (a sin of omission). Much of the stuff wasn't new and some of it didn't even belong to him!

Would other kids his age be negatively impacted by his brag-post? Quite possibly.

We initially edited his comments on the image ("This isn't all mine") - but in the end, we removed the post completely.  

Don't compare someone else's highlight reel with your behind the scenes.

Why feed a materialistic braggadocio... it's hard enough to be a kid in a world of things and stuff...I would rather my child come from humility and "I have enough" - not, "This is who I am."
And, no, he wasn't happy with this entire go-round but parenting is a marathon, not a sprint.
Maybe he'll think skeptically when he sees a post from a buddy standing in front of his new Tesla or surfing North Shore with the crowd cheering.


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Do children believe everything they see on online or posted by a "friend?" My answer is YES! 

Recently, an acquaintance of my son posted beautiful video footage from inside a wave. It was an inside the tube, shot of a lifetime clip, with amazing graphics and music accompaniment: all in slo-mo, courtesy of GoPro.
Oddly, my son was convinced that his buddy had taken this video himself, a kid that I doubted had ever been on a surfboard, let alone traveled to say, Fiji or Waimea to capture such an amazing and perfect wave, from beginning to end. The curious part came when my son was impressed with this video enough to show it to me. "Wow, so cool - wonder who took that!" 
 A conversation ensued...why, of course, my teenager believed that it was made and created by its very poster!
Another reason that teens need in-depth dialogue. 

Encourage their skepticism. 
Challenge their assumptions - speak about branding and commercialism.