Tag Archives: Instagram

Love, Small Screen Style

One of our kids is going to be President. Maybe not my kid or your kid, but one of their friends, or Instagram followers, or someone they met at football camp will become the President of the United States one day. This should scare the crap out of you.

Do you follow your kid on Instagram? What about Snapchat? Don’t worry about Facebook, that’s for old people (like me). Do you follow their friends? I do. And it is eye-opening. My youngest son is a mess and he posts silly things that make me roll my eyes. His friends send me snapchats of themselves with goofy faces and I send them back. I double tap their Instagram photos from time to time. Sometimes I will comment about how pretty they look or that I am proud of them. The other 90% of the time I am mortified.

Studies have shown that so many online relationships result in marriage because 1) the people on dating sites are serious about having a relationship and 2) relationships formed and developed over the internet escalate faster that traditional dating relationships. There is a boldness fostered by the the computer screen. There is a disconnect that makes it easier to share opinions, reach out, flirt, bully, etc. Couple this with the trend of selfie-taking, self-centered young people who are all but attached to their electronic devises and you have a recipe for disaster.

Remember when you couldn’t go on a date until you were old enough to drive? Remember when there had to be a reason to go somewhere, like a school dance? Dating now consists of staking a claim on someone and promoting it on social media. Ten-year-olds are dating. They claim a girlfriend/boyfriend in the classroom, and then have an electronic relationship right under your very nose. Nothing irritates me more than middle school aged children proclaiming their love on social media. (Actually, that’s not true. Reading comments on Instagram where one boy will comment on another boy’s photo, “UR so gay” like that’s an acceptable way to participate in playful trash talk makes my blood boil. Especially when they come from families that have enough sense to teach their children that it isn’t appropriate to use language that demeans any group of people. Change the word from gay to retarded and I will also flip my lid.)

Back to young love. Young girl posts selfie (with or without duck lips) with some overused, cliche hashtag, such as #blessed, and immediately their 14 year old boyfriend will comment something like, “I’m so lucky, bae” [heart-eyed emoji, heart-eyed emoji, heart-eyed emoji]. Or young boy posts photo of he and girl together (usually in the school parking lot) and captions, “Can’t believe it’s been two months” [#blessed]. The girl will quickly comment something like #bae #truelove #justthrewupinmymouth. Oh, wait, not that last one. That was me.

Are you as a parent watching this? Are you showing these exchanges to your own child and explaining to them that this is not how life works? These kids don’t even talk to each other. They text each other. All the time. Have you read a text exchange between a tween-aged couple? Do you read your own child’s texts every day? If not, you should. My twelve year old has a cell phone. Or I should say, he has the use of a cell phone. I pay for it. It is mine. The content on said phone is my responsibility. I check his browser history, text messages, Instagram direct messages; you name it, I’m reading it. But I see these conversations happening openly on Instagram all the time. Where are the parents? Do they really think this is productive behavior? [Sadly, I have seen parents actually condone this by commenting heart-eyed kissy-faced emojis on these posts instead of telling their kid that four months of incessant texting at 13 years old isn’t actually what love is.]

If your 11-15 year old is having three week anniversaries, celebrating their love, texting a significant other four hours a day, and is feeling #blessed in general because of another human in the same age group; start cleaning out your basement. Little Johnny is going to be living in that basement about two semesters into college because he is either A) about to enter into the world with completely unrealistic expectations B) about to be involved in a teen pregnancy C) completely unaware of what happens twenty feet beyond himself D) all of the above. I used to wonder what parents were doing while their kids were behaving like this. But the answer is more than likely staring at a screen themselves. Just this morning I was looking at a Snapchat story consisting of a video taken in a common area. You can clearly hear the parent of the child in the background talking to someone else. They are completely unaware that they are being recorded.

This brings me to my next rant: adults who constantly interact with things/people on their cell phone instead of the living, breathing human next to them. But I will save that one for another day…

An Open Letter to Girls Who Take Selfies and Edit Them with Phone Apps

Gee, you look so natural.

Gee, you look so natural.

Stop. Just stop.
Just a thought: if you aren’t happy with your appearance, don’t take and post selfies that you have “edited” using free photo enhancing apps on your cellphone. You do realize that the only person you’re fooling is that kid from second grade who moved to Japan to play the cello in the Japanese National Orchestra and hasn’t seen you since 1984, right?
One of my friends and I send each other ugly selfies almost daily. Nothing breaks the monotony of waiting for a pap smear like getting a text from a friend with a selfie of herself with veins bulging from her neck and looking all pop eyed. Especially when the doctor walks in and you’re still laying there with your gown on backwards giggling. Anyway, she and I also like to grab photos of people from our Facebook friends who have clearly enhanced their selfies, and send them to one another. If only it weren’t a sad cometary on how our culture is so obsessed with portraying an image and persona on social media that isn’t even mildly representative of our real life, then I could laugh about these photos even more. The point is, girls, that you think we all think you really look like that, but in reality, we saw you at Winn-Dixie yesterday, and you didn’t have a halo behind you and deep, baby-blue eyes.
Back when I was a kid, I used to watch this show named Moonlighting. It starred a former, aging Cover Girl named Cybill Shepherd and a little known guy with a receding hairline named Bruce Willis. Every single time Cybill was in the frame by herself, a soft glow lens was used. Look, I wasn’t there. I don’t know if they filmed her with her own special camera, or if they just fluffed her up in editing, but it became so damn distracting that I couldn’t even watch the show. Bruce Willis: normal. Cybill Shepherd: moonlight glow. Back and forth, back and forth. It drove me crazy! Now I realize it was the 80s, but I’m willing to bet that ABC had better editing equipment in their California studios than your cellphone does, even if you do have an iPhone 6. So if ABC couldn’t fool me when I was ten, what makes you think you can fool us with your own hazy shade of Photoshop?
The thing with phone editing apps is that they aren’t really photo editing programs. Trust me, Anna Wintour isn’t sitting behind her desk at Condé Nast fluffing up the next cover with an Instagram filter. These filters apply a specific look to the entire photograph. It’s not like you can go in and streamline your waist like a seasoned artist. You can crop the photo to cut off part of your arm so you don’t look so big (yep, I do that one all the time, can’t help myself, I have Oprah arms), but you can’t pick and choose portions of the image to enhance. The other day I saw some girl’s selfie and it had so much softening filter on it that she looked like Voldemort. Hello!!! You managed to erase your giant zit, but you also don’t have a freaking nose!!! That’s not normal, people!
Make up. Oh, sweet Mary and Joseph, let’s talk about make up. If you have a phone app that puts make up on your selfies, for the love of all things holy, please delete it. Right now. Go ahead. I’ll sit here and wait. If you don’t care enough to put a coat of paint on the barn, then don’t digitally do it in the pictures. And whatever you do, don’t add it to the other people in the photo. Unless you just ran a color run, chances are there will not be any bright pink color on your face after a marathon. Seriously, you just puked on the concrete in front of God and everybody. Don’t be trying to fool your Facebook friends into thinking you look refreshed and pink lipped after you just ran farther in one day than I’ve ever run every single day in my entire life combined. And if you wear glasses, um, if you put eyeliner on digitally, it will be ON TOP of your glasses. We can see that. We know it’s fake. Stop it.
I guess what I want to say is embrace yourself. Be who you are. Be proud. But if you decide you don’t really like your looks but want to continue to take photos of yourself anyway and filter them before posting them on Facebook, don’t get pissy with me when I see you in public and have NO IDEA WHO YOU ARE because you don’t have Clorox white teeth and floating orbs of radiant light floating about your head.