The news is often full of terrible stories about horrible things that happened to kids because of social media. These things do happen and there’s a long list of them to keep in mind as your kids navigate this digital world.
The reality though is that more than likely, your kid will face one particular challenge before any others. Want to know what it is?
Someone is going to block them on Instagram.
Or, someone won’t follow them on Instagram.
Those are similar issues, although blocking feels more deliberate.
When you were a teenager, a person who didn’t like you, just wouldn’t talk to you. Now though, they can block you from taking a peek into their life. They can shut a door firmly in the most popular place for teens to congregate, Instagram.
They can lock you out of their lives.
This is the easiest, most common way a teenager gets their feelings hurt online. When someone doesn’t follow you, that hurts too, but not in the same way. Maybe they didn’t know you have an account. Maybe they forgot to follow you. Maybe there’s some other reason they don’t right now. Not so with a blocking. When someone blocks you, they’ve deliberately sent you a message that they don’t like you.
In situations like that, the most important thing to assess is if the relationship needs to be repaired. Sometimes it does and your kid needs to apologize for something. Other times, there’s nothing to repair. You can’t force your child to be friends with someone and meddling in the situation will only make everything all the worse.
There’s a block headed to your future as a parent, I promise, it’s coming.
Instead of waiting for it, do the brave thing, and ask your child if they’ve ever been blocked on Instagram.
If they have, talk about it. Ask them how they feel. Ask if they have anything they need to do. It might seem like something small, but you’d be surprised at the big conversation it can start.