At what age do you start caring about likes?

It’s younger than you think.

My daughter was 8 the first time she asked me about them.

I had posted a photo of her on Instagram. The next morning she came downstairs and immediately said, “Dad, how many likes did that photo of me get?”

In our culture, that’s a fairly normal question to ask, but it really shouldn’t be. Measuring your likes via the opinions of strangers is a new thing. No one in the 1980s did this. Authors in the 1980s did not worry about Amazon reviews. Restaurants in the 1980s did not worry about Yelp reviews. Suburban moms in the 1980s didn’t worry about other moms shaming their parenting styles in online forums. We live in a culture drunk on the belief that everyone else needs to know how we feel about things.

Including your last picture.

It’s so small it seems insignificant. It’s just a like. It’s just a heart. It’s just a thumbs up. Does it matter?

That’s a fair question. The one I would respond with is this, “Is there anything about the self-esteem of a teenage girl that is insignificant?”

Do you think for a second when teen girls delete photos from their account when they don’t get enough likes that is a healthy thing?

Does pushing the boundaries of what’s appropriate to garner more likes seem like a healthy thing?

Does obsessing over a little number on a little photo seem like a healthy thing?

Of course not, but the solution is counterintuitive.

The fix isn’t to care less about likes. The fix is to care more about love.

On social media, it’s better to get your worth from God than from your likes. 

It’s better to start from a place of wholeness and happiness than it is to look for either from a device that simply can’t deliver them.

A full heart will not be deterred by likes. A hurting heart will always be swayed in ways that cause more hurt.

In a world of likes, spend some time on love.

It lasts a lot longer.