Instagram Contract for My Tween

Instagram Contract for Tweens

Do you have an Instagram account?  I absolutely love Instagram!  (If you have an account, connect with me @ amandajanebrown).  I love the simplicity, the creativity (of other’s photos!), the whimsy, and the connection.

My nearly-12-year-old has begged, pleaded, groveled…for an “Insta” account.   “All” her friends have one (not true, but whatever).  “Insta” in the tween world is way different than Instagram in my mom-blogger-friend world.  I get that.  And after much thought and consideration, we decided to let our daughter open an account…with the agreement that she would sign, follow, and adhere to a few rules.  She says I’m a little strict, but I’ll take that as a compliment in this “let your daughter do whatever they want to” world.

Here is our contract…and keep in mind it is written for an 11-year-old mentality.  No beatin’ around the bush or big words.

1.  I will keep in mind that I want a job one day, and that any picture I post on Instagram is out there forever.

Maddie has forever had dreams of becoming a camp counselor at her favorite camp, among many other attainable jobs…near future and far.

2.  Silly pictures are okay.  Stupid pictures are not.  Stupid would include naked pictures or my tongue sticking out or looking like I’m trying to be 23.  I’m 11.  (And I want to get a job one day.)

**While Maddie could not fathom why someone would take a “naked” picture, I’m not stupid.  It’s in our very midst.  What IS stupid, is for us as parents to pretend it’s not. 

3.  I will not post pictures that would embarrass or hurt another person.  Ever.

4.  I will not overpost pictures of myself.   In addition, I will not refer to myself as “hot, hottie, or sexy.”    Even if I do not fully understand why.  

Our girl is well-loved.  I cringe at the thought of my daughter longing for approval via Instagram comments.  In addition, our twisted society has normalized “sexiness” in very, very young girls.  How this irritates me, scares me, and causes me to long for Jesus to return.  But until then, we are going to protect her as best as we know how.

5.  Mom and Dad can access my account any time because they have my password, and I will delete any pictures they tell me to.  (I want to get a job one day).

6.  I will keep my Instagram account set to “private” at all times, and will not accept follower invites from people I do not know, especially boys or men.

7.  I will never, ever give out my address, location, or any other identifiable information on Instagram.  Creepy people will come get me.

I fully intend on scaring her to death about online predators and the boogeyman.  

8.  No posting from Instagram at sleepovers.  If the sleepover is at our house, all devices stay downstairs after 9pm.  

I’ve seen firsthand where this is just a disaster waiting to happen.  I wish sleepovers would just go away.

9.  I will leave my Ipod Touch downstairs every night at 9pm to charge.  No exceptions.

10.  I will have fun, be creative, and connect with my friends…keeping in mind…that I want to get a job one day.

Sign and Date___________________________

Printable Contract (without the peanut-gallery comments)

What safety measures do you have in place for your kids’ devices, social media, computers, etc?  I’d love to hear your ideas!

 Linking to:

Tidy MomDenise in Bloom, Grace at Home, Weekend Bloggy Reading, Diana Rambles, Mop It Up Mondays

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Comments

  1. I absolutely love this! I hope to remember this when L starts asking for whatever they have in place of Instagram when she’s a Tween (or younger).

    • Adrienne, Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment! You will come up with your own versions of whatever you need to do to protect her when it’s time. Lock arms with a few other mama’s. It’s always better that way:) Sorry for the delay in replying. Crazy here!!

    • Thank you for this helpful post! However, I can’t seem to get the link to the “clean” contract to work. Could you or your admin. email it to me perhaps?
      Jen

  2. Sandy Hudson says:

    I think this is a wonderful contract. Too many children/tweens/teens/etc. are able to go unsupervised in all things. I cannot imagine what it is like to be parents of children in this age – God be with each family. I am praying our grandson’s life through.

  3. Such a great idea! I have a tween girl too, it’s a scary world we live in but with God’s guidance we will lead them to live a life pleasing to him!! Thanks so much for sharing Amanda.

  4. Love this!! And, you’re right, strict is a compliment :)

  5. I love this! I think all the time about how I will handle Internet access for my girls when they reach that age. It already scares me to death. Great idea.

  6. Thank you so much for allowing us to copy this & use with our own tweens! my 11 yr has asked for an account & I keep saying not yet.. but now I feel even better when I do feel like it will be okay, with this contract!

    Thanks again!!
    your newest follower
    Tina

  7. Love it, love it, love it, Amanda! I think it is wonderful that you did this. We have to be soooo careful with what we let our children do with technology today. I love that you are teaching her responsibility at this age. And I love the sleepover rule and the no ipod after 9:00 pm deal. So smart!

  8. I LOVE this! If I had a teenage daughter, I would totally make her sign this. I’m sharing your post with my friends who do have teenage daughters.

  9. I love this. I can’t imagine having a teenager in today’s society. And I’m even more scared to death of what “today’s society” is going to look like in 11 years when I do have to raise a teenage.

  10. This is great, Amanda! My sweet baby girl is only 11 months old, but I can only imagine how things will be once she’s 11! This is a great idea! Thanks for sharing with us!

  11. So funny that I ran across this on pinterest today. When my 10 year old daughter got her iPod, I made her sign an iPod contract that I created. Through her misuse of Instagram, she violated some of the terms of the original contract. Instagram has been deleted and the iPod is temporarily gone. The fun never ends!

    • Isn’t that the truth?!! I feel like I stay semi-stressed to really stressed with a middle-schooler:)

    • Beth, you are right, the “fun never ends.” LOL! It IS just one more thing I have to monitor, but so far, so good. A few things I’ve had to talk to her about…requiring her to unfollow a few folks…wish it were a requirement for all parents to monitor their kids’ Instagram and social media!!

  12. Great idea!

  13. Perfect post for parents. I am 100% for parent and teen having contracts regarding internet tools, cell phones and driving curfews. I have three in college and stood strict by my terms while they were in high school. There were battles but so worth it now since they are great young adults.

  14. This is so good! Really it is, and I’m totally sending this to my SIL. My niece, oh my niece. Sometimes it’s a good laugh, but sometimes it’s a bit nerve racking. So glad you have this out there for people to use. Very helpful, and thoughtful. You’re a good mama!!!

  15. So good!!! The thought of having this conversation with Molly terrifies me. I think this contract is a great idea!

  16. Bravo! I especially like your inclusion of no pictures with her tongue sticking out. :) (Hopping over from Denise in Bloom.)

  17. sarah lin says:

    Hello! Being a twenty five year old young lady, I can really remember being this age. While I think this contract is awesome I’m just curious why you dislike the sleepovers? Those are some of my fondest memories of that age… In fact I still love it when friends come to visit and stay over night or all weekend.

    • Hi Sarah,
      Thanks for stopping by!

      I, too, have fond memories of sleepovers. We have them here and let our kids go to them at friend’s homes…the main things are the frequency that middle-schoolers want to have them(every single weekend) and that on occasion, it can be a breeding ground for drama.
      Totally agree that still (at nearly age 40), having friends come visit are highlights of our year since we live far away from family and old friends!
      Perhaps it’s my particular child’s personality that wants as much social interaction as possible…friends and more friends energize her:) So the sleepovers aren’t going anywhere:). We do try to make them fun, yet we have to be careful that family time doesn’t always get bumped. Thanks so much for commenting!

  18. Thank you! This is a wonderful Post! My girls are still WAY to young, but I know one day I will face this and have to cringe at the same thoughts.

  19. I LOVE this contract. My boyfriend has a tween daughter whose birthday list includes an iPod touch and a cell phone. He is really out of touch with things like instagram and Twitter and what really goes on in a tween girls head, so I cant wait to print this out for him.

    • Erin,
      Great! Yes, so many, to no fault of their own, just haven’t thought of the implications of negative time on social media. It is scary, but it is part of the culture for good. We have to stay involved and persevere even when we get tired as parents:) Hope he liked the idea!

  20. I really feel for you moms trying to raise girls in today’s world. I can only imagine the damage a “mean” girl could do with her phone, instagram and girls who follow the leader like sheep at times. Makes me shudder! Good luck!

  21. As a therapist and parenting expert this is EXACTLY what every parent should be doing! Kudos to you for doing this right!

  22. Bravo! What a fantastic contract you came up with. I’m not a parent myself, but I will be sharing this with my sisters-in-law for their kids. Thanks so much!

  23. I love this! I pinned it.

  24. What a fantastic post. This should be required reading! I can’t imagine trying to raise a daughter today. Girls are such drama queens. Luckily my son was an older teenager when cell phone use was becoming common, so I got lucky. Good luck and I’m sure she’ll do just fine.

  25. Hands down…fantastic!!!! Great job!!

  26. Very clever! I wish every parent who lets their kids get Instagram would see this! Some of things my kid’s friends post are nothing short of disturbing.

    Great parenting!

    Best wishes,
    Natasha in Oz

  27. I don’t have any kids yet, so I’m no where near close to needing this. But I absolutely love this! I’m glad that you’re a parent who uses and loves Instagram, but you’re not one of those who is going to ban it from your kids and be a total hypocrite. I wish more parents would realize that banning things doesn’t make it go away, and kids usually find a way anyway.

    These are such smart ideas!

  28. Great contract. Not sure about the not sticking her tongue out though? We’re not at sleepover stage with our daughter but I have a friend with older girls and she takes ALL phones when the girls arrive. Otherwise they are texting each other instead of engaging in face-to-face conversation. I plan to do this. So far my boys haven’t had any sleep overs and the teen boys just don’t care as much about the phone stuff. It amazes me how adults can’t even go w/o their phone anymore! I just spent a week in Haiti. It was actually nice to not have any electronics and to get a break from the instant access everyone always has to our lives now. We could all use a little breather!

  29. Love this! My tween is addicted to Instagram and it’s gotten her in trouble a few times. Plan to share this.

    • Yes, it can definitely be a slippery slope. I have mixed emotions about having “one more thing” to monitor, but so far, it has been okay. Only a few folks I’ve required her to stop following. Thanks for stopping by.
      Amanda

  30. I loved this, “I fully intend on scaring her to death about online predators and the boogeyman. ” lol

    I have a nearly 11 year old and she is not allowed on social media yet. Well, she does blog every once in a while, though it hasn’t been regular lately. But her name is kept confidential as well as her face. I approve and edit every post…most are homeschooling related anyways (book reports, etc).

    The only friend who comments is someone she knows in real life, but moved out of state several years ago–and I’m friends with her mom.

    Honestly, the thought of letting my innocent daughter on any social media just doesn’t sound right. LOL Like mixing oil and water. She hasn’t asked me, though, so I have a bit of an advantage, I guess.

    I like your rules, though. Very good and good for you for being proactive about protecting your daughter and loving her well in this way. You are a great example to other moms in such a technologically rich world our children are growing up in.

  31. I don’t have a girl but many friends do. I’ve talked a lot about digital footprints but so many parents don’t seem to get what that means. Good for you!

  32. Oh, I am SO with you on having no electronics at bed time…especially at a sleep over. I am the mean mother for enforcing it…but who cares! :)

  33. My daughter signed up for Instagram without me knowing a thing about it. I was completely shocked when I found out all the information she put out there for the world to read. In a matter of weeks she had over 1000 followers! I am sure most of them were predictors. It took my rocket science husband hours to delete the account. If you allow your child to sign up forminstagram you are agreeing to LIE about thier age. I do not think it is ok for you to LIE and say your child is thirteen! Why don’t you just wait until she is thirteen to sign the contract. Please!

  34. I would have to make one addition. One problem that we had right off the bat was making sure that they were commenting on other’s pictures in a positive and appropriate way. My whole family has a pretty sarcastic sense of humor, but that sarcasm doesn’t always translate on a text or comment. So some things my son said to my daughter’s picture came out as very hurtful even though he was just being funny… anyways, I guess I would just make sure to take other’s feelings into consideration and always be positive with comments. Never using the words gay or retard as I’ve seen so many times on there (not from my kids)…

  35. Andi Piscatella says:

    I love this, but as a parent of a teen (13), I think it’s important to spell out what the parent’s rights and responsibilities are, too, and to have the parent(s) sign and date it as well. For example, breaking out the “Mom & Dad will access the account…” could be in the parent section, along with things like “Mom & Dad won’t tag me in pictures or call me goofy nicknames without my permission” since teen girls are hyper sensitive about how they appear to others. Showing that parents are not only looking out for the teen’s safety, but also willing to consider their feelings is important.

  36. Great contract,, thanks for posting. I think you missed a key feature of instragram, though, that you could have used – there is an age requirement to have an account – 13. I will not even consider letting my kids on before that age.

  37. I say, good for you! I think too many parents are way too lax when it comes to social media and I applaud you for caring about your daughter enough to set parameters and articulate clear expectations. Thanks for setting an example. My eldest is just approaching the age when ‘every body has one’ so it’s good to find mother’s of a similar mind :)

  38. Hi. I have a question. I’m 13 and I was wondering what do you think about girls my age wearing makeup.

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