“Youre Not Beautiful Because 30 of Your Friends Comment on Your Selfie”: To My Daughter, in the Age of Social Media

My kids break through the front door, shedding knapsacks and lunch boots, coats and bags. Your house immediately ends up being louder, as bits of stories are shared, treats are asked for, and somebody plunks mindlessly on the piano. “ Is today a screen time day? ” among them asks. I shake my head “ no ” as I search through the refrigerator for treat choices.

The youngest groans about screen time, stating we must have it every day.

The older 2 start their pleas:

“ Can we have simply 10 minutes each?”


“ Just one video game?”


“ But I wish to reveal yousomething online. ”


They work out, make deals they believe I can’ t refuse, provide me their finest puppy-dog eyes.

Then, when they recognize my response actually is “ no, ” they furrow their eyebrows and slip away. I question, as I view them go, if we are doing anything right when it concerns evaluate time.

They are not denied of screens — they get lots of video games and programs. We are not Luddites.

A couple of minutes later on they — all 3 of them — are stretched on the living-room flooring building complex homes out of Legos and producing intricate stories about who resides in these homes. I smile and believe possibly we’ re doing something right (today, a minimum of).

Even while I battle with understanding how to browse screen time nowadays, I likewise understand that a much bigger minefield is simply over the horizon. My earliest is approaching a shift developmentally where her pals will become her most considerable circle for a while. And with that shift, nowadays comes all of the tangles of social networks.

A while back, I listened to an episode of “ This American Life ” where they spoke with a couple of young teenage ladies. These women described the ins and outs of how social networks like Instagram and Snapchat expose and identify their social standings at school. The method you talk about an image, how rapidly you do it, and who else remarks states all examples about where you suit (or if you suit at all).

As I listened, my heart broke for our youths. Maturing has constantly had its difficulties. And those junior high years particularly have actually never ever been simple. Today they have to do it all under the consistent analysis of an online audience.

I enjoy my earliest child arrange her Lego productions, and I’ m conquered with the desire to safeguard her from what’ s coming. Therefore, these words are for her. And for her pals. And possibly for any of the youths in your life, too.

“ I take a look at you, still a lot a kid, however not more than a couple of years far from junior high. You are independent and imaginative, figured out to do things your method. You are kind, in some cases shy, however likewise positive. You are comfy in your own skin due to the fact that you have actually never ever had any factor to question that you who are is simply great, terrific, even. I wear’ t desire you to lose that asyou mature.

I desire so severely for you to enter your preteen and teenager years with that very same self-confidence. I desire you to continue to check out the important things you enjoy. Now that’ s checking out, art, and envisioning. In a couple of years you may find others. Let your interests flower and grow without being squelched by what is or isn’ t popular. You appreciate what’ s reasonable. Permit that to assist you see where things in our world aren’ t reasonable and look for justice for others. I desire you to have the nerve to discover and ask concerns, both in class and out without stressing over what may appear about you on somebody’ s snapchat. I desire you to laugh with your buddies and to find out how to browse disputes face to face, face to deal with. And I desire house to constantly be a soft location to land after a tough day, a location where you put on’ t need to be linked to the outdoors world for a while.

So, I may state ‘ no ’ to some things your good friends are doing. I may state we’ re going to hold back on social networks for a while, or a minimum of put some substantial borders in location. I believe I’ ve informed you currently about an instructor I understand who informed me that when she taught Grade 4, she discovered that the kids who didn’ t have phones appeared various to her; they were in some way more comfy with themselves. I can offer you the research studies about how increased social networks has actually been connected to increased stress and anxiety and anxiety, however I’ m not exactly sure you ’ ll be swayed. When you think I am being definitely unjust, there will most likely be days. And there will most likely be days when I will second think myself.

But here’ s what I desire you to understand: Your worth is not figured out by the number of likes you get online. You are not gorgeous since 30 of your buddies talk about your selfie.

Oh sweet lady, you are lovely due to the fact that you are kind and brave, since you ask concerns and grow and find out, since you let your distinct presents shine through as you find who you are and who you are implied to be. You are lovely since you are you, produced in the image of a caring God. You are lovely since you are liked unconditionally.

What am I teaching you, in nowadays prior to you’ re even thinking about social networks, in nowadays when Legos and stuffies still absorb your attention? Do I examine my phone when you are attempting to inform me about your day? Do I speak about the number of likes that charming photo of you gathered on my Facebook page? Do I select to scroll Twitter or Facebook, looking at other individuals’ s lives, when I could be having fun with you?

You see, I’ ve been absorbed a bit, myself, even as I’ ve attempted not to be. I’ ve had minutes of thinking those messages that how essential I am is in some way consolidated what takes place online.

But, I am more than my likes and my remarks. Therefore are you. I will do my finest to counter those messages, to not let you get drawn into thinking that your worth originates from your social networks accounts. Since this matters.. Much. Therefore do you.

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