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How You Can Use Instagram to Empower Your Daughter

By Jessica Thiefels on 10/25/2017 | General

We all have an account, yet Instagram is a source of stress and anxiety for many women, much less young girls who are vulnerable and innocent. That doesn’t mean you should (or even can) hide this hugely popular social platform from your daughter.

Instead of keeping it from her, or pretending like she’s not using it, take this opportunity to empower her to become the woman you know she can be. With a little understanding and guidance, Instagram can be an inspirational platform teaching your daughter about the limitless possibilities this life holds for her.

But First, You Must Know Why They Post

What you think when you post a photo and what your daughter thinks are two very different things. While in most cases, you’re excited to share a photo of your family being active or proud about your kids winning an award, Lauren Galley, award-winning teen mentor, explains what your daughter is thinking:

“At first, it was fun, but quickly I found myself addicted to an application that tweens and teens would soon use to define their self worth. Everything had changed. Now, I had a number under each photo: the number of “likes” a particular picture receives. At first, I didn’t think much about it until I realized that the popular girl in high school got 150 likes on her selfie and I got 16. That’s when I realized that this app is more than just a virtual scrapbook. It is a way to numerically compare ourselves to our peers.”

Not only can Instagram play a role in dictating their personal self-worth, but the process of simply choosing a photo, a caption and hashtags is anxiety-inducing. Yet they keep doing it—and this is where you have the chance to turn Instagram from a popularity contest to an empowering opportunity.

You can’t change that her feelings might get hurt when she sees a photo of her friends without her or that she may cry in a bathroom stall because her selfie didn’t get enough likes. However, you can change the conversation in your home and use Instagram as a tool to empower your daughter—which may even reduce the likihood of these incidents occuring in the first place. Here’s how:

Give Her Ideas for Posting

When left to follow the lead of friends and “popular kids” at school, it’s easy for young girls to get the wrong information and guidance. To empower your daughter with Instagram, start by giving her ideas of photos to post. Remind her that the app doesn’t have to be a popularity contest for everyone—she can choose to use it how she wants.

Perhaps she uses it as a digital scrapbook of her life, posting photos of the most exciting moments, like when she finishes her first half marathon or gets the lead in her school play. If she’s passionate about something specific, like art or singing, encourage her to share pictures and videos of her work as well. Remind her that this can be a platform for her to share her talents with millions of other people.

The goal is to empower her to share more than just selfies, and instead, choose photos that celebrate all that she’s accomplishing. Ultimately, she can choose the experience she has on Instagram, and making conscious decisions about what she posts is just one way to do that.

Encourage Her to Use Positive Hashtags

Hashtags may not seem important to focus on, but Galley explains otherwise: “Then comes the hashtag decisions. The choices are endless, and these, too, depict an underlying thought process, a type of secret code that tween girls seem to understand.”

Hashtags are not only part of this “secret code” but they’re a way for your daughter to empower other girls just like herself. Choosing positive and empowering hashtags allows her to express herself while encouraging others to do the same—the power is in her hands to help other girls feel great about themselves.

Empowering hashtags she can use include:

#LoveYourself

#GirlsWhoRun

#NMM or #NoMakeupMonday

#loveyourcurls

#likeagirl

#GirlHero

#GirlBoss

 

Get Her Follower List Right

Sometimes the most emotionally hurtful posts come from your daughter’s friends or from lack of likes and comments on her own posts. Still, getting her to follow empowering and positive accounts ensures that she’s seeing all the good things that Instagram can do, like helping people share knowledge, spread love, and celebrate life. Here are a few empowering Instagram accounts that will inspire your daughter to...

 

Instagram can cause anxiety and stress for you as a mom, even more so for your daughter, who’s growing up in a judgmental, image-centric society. The reality is, she’ll probably find a way to use it, whether you want her to or not.

Instead of ignoring it, use these tips to make Instagram a positive and empowering experience. It doesn’t have to be a popularity contest or an anxiety trigger. It can be a powerful tool to show your daughter the limitless possibilities of her life—you just have to guide her along the way. 

Jessica Thiefels

Author

Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than ten years and is currently a full-time writer, ACE Certified Personal Trainer and mental health advocate. She’s also the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Honest Body Fitness, an online health magazine for women who are fed up with being told how to look and how to get there, yet still don’t feel like enough. She’s written for Shape, Reader’s Digest, AARP, Snap Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness and more. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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