I have a budding videographer in my family. She has tripods, cameras, sets, lighting, and props. She has her own YouTube channel. She is a middle schooler. So I was very interested in this article about Instagram and Vine from Common Sense Media. Instagram is a photo and video sharing app. Vine is a video only app. In keeping with the techno trend for ever more compact content, Instagram videos are up to15 seconds long and Vine videos are up to 6 seconds.
Some of us over 30 don't quite understand all the issues with many of these new social networking sites.I didn't realize you could share video with Instagram. Nor did I know that Vine is owned by Twitter - makes sense - 6 seconds is so Twitterish. I hear the middle schoolers around me talking a lot about Instagram. I know one twelve year old who has an Instagram account, but her mom won't let her have a Facebook account yet.
That brings up the issue of appropriateness. Technically, twelve year olds aren't allowed to have Instagram or Vine accounts according to their user agreements. However, we all know that doesn't stop tweens and younger kids from joining.
Just like YouTube, there are videos on Instagram and Vine that will make you blush. There is content you wouldn't really want your young teen watching. I recommend having an open conversation with your child. If they are under 13, consider telling them 'no' for now. Take it from a middle school teacher, there is a difference between 12 year olds and 13 year olds. Regardless of your decision, talk to them about privacy. You wouldn't invite the world into your home, so don't invite them to see your personal footage. Talk to them about cyberbullying. They should tell an adult if it happens and block the offending 'friend'. Stay involved and ask to see what they are sending and watching.
Today's teens relate to each other largely through electronic media so as today's parents we have to actively participate and guide them.