Parent v Child: An 11-year-old's argument for Instagram
MUM and journalist Kathy Sundstrom shares why she doesn't think her son should be able to use social media. Her son Thomas explains why he should.
KATHY'S VIEW (MUM)
I HATE being a kill joy and always try and have a rational reason when I say "no" to my children's requests.
When the question came up for Instagram, which I consider to be just another social media fad, my answer was what it has been to requests for Facebook, Twitter, Kick and Grand Theft Auto... "no".
What I didn't expect was that I didn't appear to have the backing of other parents in my 11-year-old son's Year 6 class (many of which are 10 years old).
My son assured me all his friends "are on it".
Being the journalist that I am, I phoned another mum, a person I deeply respect, and was surprised to find he was telling the truth.
"Yes, my daughter is on it and most of the friends in her class are," the mother of a 10-year-old girl said.
She explained Instagram was the "lesser of the evils" when compared to Facebook and could be easily monitored and the settings set on private to deter predators.
So I put the question to Facebook on Tuesday night and Mark and Caroline, from Mix Fm, put it out on radio.
Most parents who called in agreed Instagram was not suitable for under-13s.
After a tantrum from my children at the unreasonableness of their mother, I tried and explain my view.
I told him about how often I hear in court people being sentenced for procuring children under the age of 16 on the internet.
I told him how easy it is for predators to lie to gain private information.
I told him how easy it was for his friends to share the photos with people who are not his friends and for the image to go across the world.
I told him how I used Facebook and Instagram for work purposes to find out information about people and get their photographs.
I told him I loved him and only wanted the best for him.
And I wish I could tell you this was enough to change his mind.
WHAT THOMAS THINKS (11-YEAR-OLD SON)
THOMAS Sundstrom is an 11-year-old child who is in Year 6 at an Independent Christian College on the Sunshine Coast.
He engaged in a question and answer session with his mother to explain why he should be allowed access to Instagram.
Why should 11-year-olds have Instagram?
So they can talk to their friends. Not many people have sim cards, they use Instagram to keep in touch with each other.
Why can't you telephone your friends and have a real discussion with them?
"When you call to talk to your friends, you are not actually talking to your friends. You have to talk to their parents first. Like when I walk to talk to a friend, I have to ask their mum and don't get to talk to them immediately.
How many of the friends are on Instagram?
Maybe 19 of them. There are 22 in my class.
What do they say about Instagram?
They say it's awesome and everything, they get to talk to each other and share their photos and stuff.
The terms of Instagram say you have to be 13 to use it, does that matter?
It does bother me you have to be 13, a little bit. Yes, they are the rules, but they don't really matter. They don't really care if you are age 13, they are just putting it out there. No one listens to it.
Does that make it right?
No, it doesn't make it right, but it is what it is.
What would you say if I allowed you to get Instagram, knowing it was breaking the rules?
I'd say "thank you". I wouldn't think you were a bad parent by bending the rules.
Do you think I am a bad parent not letting you have Instagram?
I don't think you are a bad parent, I just think it is a bit annoying.
What do your friends' parents do to protect them from the dangers?
They make sure they are fine. Most of their parents look at their Instagram.
How do you feel about not having Instagram?
I feel like I am missing out, I am not in the loop, it's not fair.
What do you friends say?
They want me to join, they keep saying "come on Tom, come on, get on it".