Beauty pageants held on Instagram

This post written by Hollee Actman Becker for the Australian site iVillage explains what is happening to children and young adults (particularly girls) on the photo sharing site Instagram:

Did you know that there are beauty pageants on Instagram?


Well then you may want to sit down.

Because you know who the participants in these pageants are?

Our children.

Wait. What?

People will actually vote for who they think is the least attractive in the comments, and whichever girl’s name is written the most will be awarded a big fat X drawn across her face.

This is a real concern. Talk to your children. Are they on Instagram? Really?

The great thing is that the author took the haters head on (in a nice way by posting inspirational messages and asking them to stop the beauty contests) and some of the behaviour has turned around:

Slowly but surely, this little posse of fourth and fifth grade girls — who had just spent hours feeling bad about themselves — picked themselves up and took to Instagram to post inspirational messages of their own.

The author continues:

So, when my kids get home tonight — they are 7 and 10 and yes, they are both on Instagram — I’m going to take a few moments before all the after-school craziness begins to really sit down and talk to them about what it means to use social media correctly and responsibly.

Great advice for all parents.

Instagram retreats over terms of service changes

During the last week of school last year, we posted about the worrying changes to Instagram’s terms and conditions. Fortunately,  as reported by The Telegraph, Instagram listened to the outcry from users and retreated:

“You also had deep concerns about whether under our new terms, Instagram had any plans to sell your content,” said Mr Systrom.

“I want to be really clear: Instagram has no intention of selling your photos, and we never did. We don’t own your photos – you do.”

However, Instagram still intends to forge ahead with paid content that may not be identified as advertising:

Instagram kept language which gave it the ability to place ads in conjunction with user content, and “that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such”. However Mr Systrom said that in future it would get communicate its advertising plans before actually introducing them.

You can read the whole Telegraph article here.

Staying safe on Instagram

Lois Smethurst, ICT Leading teacher at Berwick Lodge Primary School has developed an excellent guide for parents keeping their children safe when using social media photo sharing site Instagram. Lois explains:

Often the child’s picture is in the profile, often the child’s full name is in the profile, sometimes they have included the location of the photos on a map, and sometimes they have chosen inappropriate names or profile descriptions. There is a lot to think about in a social media site. If you wouldn’t share all of this information with a stranger you meet in the supermarket why would you share it online with people you have never met?

Read the whole guide here.

Changes to Instagram’s terms of service

From 16 January next year, Instagram, which is now owned by Facebook, will change its terms of service. You guessed it, it won’t benefit you, but Instagram. See the ABC Australia news report here.

And here’s the lowdown from the Servant of Chaos blog:

That means Instagram can now use your pictures for their own ends. Will you end your relationship with Instagram over this?

Is this your daughter? A word about Instagram

Sydney educator Henrietta Miller has written an excellent blog post about the dangers of young adults using the photo app Instagram. Made popular by many celebrities, including Justin Bieber, your photos on Instagram can have a very wide audience, without you really knowing.

Did you know that not only can one view all the photos of your own followers and their followers, but if someone then likes a photo you have access to their portfolio as well?

Well worth a read. Thanks Henrietta for bringing this aspect of Instagram to our attention.