If you've ever took cute pictures of your kids or your cat with Instagram and then made them even cuter with the app's cool filters before sharing them with all of your friends, then you probably think Instagram is harmless. Not so much. Instagram, like so many other social media networks, is not good or bad; it's just a tool. Unfortunately, this particular digital tool has the power to be a damaging cyberbullying weapon when placed in the wrong hands.
In an honest and heart-wrenching post, Elementary Principal Rob Furman shares his personal story with bullying, which is sad enough, but then he goes on to point out how today's cyberbullying is so much worse in so many ways than what we had to deal with as kids. Instagram is just one venue, of course, but it's a big one. More and more kids are leaving Facebook in favor of this photo-centric app, but not all of them are taking cute pictures of their pets. Instead, they're using Instagram to take photos of their victims and then share them with the world, asking people to vote on whether they're stupid, fat, gay, ugly, you get the point.
As parents, it's our duty to teach our kids how to get out of childhood alive and well in spite of these online dangers. We must talk to our children about how to deal with bullies as well as how to avoid becoming one…before it's too late.