“When I started to write it was the '70s and throughout that decade we didn't have any problems with book challenges or censorship. It all started really in a big way in 1980 ... It came with the election, the presidential election of 1980, and the next day, I've been told, the censors were crawling out of the woodwork and challenging, like it's our turn now, and we're going to say what we don't want our children to read. But I think it's more than that. It's what we don't want our children to know, what we don't want to talk to our children about; and if they read it, they'll know it, or they'll question it.”— Young adult lit author Judy Blume on the rise of censorship in school libraries over the last several decades.
Tweens + Instagram = тωєєиѕтαgяαм !!!
While hanging with my 12 year old cousin the other day, I unknowingly entered into the world of Tweenstagram, a vastly different space than the Instagram I have grown to know and love (and refresh too often). And what a FASCINATING world it is!
Instagram is not simply a “ fast, beautiful and fun way to share your photos with friends and family”. It is a game, it is a competition, it is calculated, it is strategic…dare I say, it has very little or nothing at all to do with the actual photos (OMFG!!).
Here is what I learned and managed to gather from my (way too) short tutorial. And I hope I am getting this right!:
The goal is to get as many followers as possible. But not in the same way that we secretly get a little excited when someone new follows us. In tween world, this is a game and a feat that everyone is aware of and participates in. As the user gets more followers he/she is able to “unlock” a new level of followers. I mean, literally, unlock. Little lock icons with a number next to each one is put in the description of the profile. When one tier of followers is reached the lock icon is changed to an unlocked lock. See below. This tween user has reached 400 followers and is eagerly waiting to unlock 500. Everyone knows the goal, here. More followers = more unlocked icons!
Getting lots of “likes” is obviously important, too. Here is a tip: Wait until you get the amount of “likes” on your photo that you no longer see the individual user names, and just see the total number of likes. Then treat your own photo to one more “like”. No one will know ;)
There is no sentimentality or attachment placed on particular photos or even the act of posting and sending something off that is yours.
So listen up and listen good:
Post fast, delete fast. It is important to purge your photos once you’ve reached 40 (or was it 100? I’ll have to inquire within). This is the point at which Instagram takes ownership of your photos, so you will want to stay below that number. This is serious shit!
Need help with a tricky word game. Take a screenshot. Post it to instagram. Maybe consider @ing your friend who is gr8 with werds and write “help!”. A couple of minutes later you will get your answer. Delete photo from instagram. Continue game.
Want to know who the prettiest Dance Moms dancer is?!! (And yes, this show is blowin’ up/ we are all pathetically late on the trend) Post a pic to instagram of all the gals and ask “who’s the prettiest? vote someone off!”. Whichever name is shouted out most in the comments, gets the boot. This means her image will be bleeped out in the next photo and the question is repeated until you are left with just one, the prettiest of them all! AMAZE picture below for reference:
Is anyone else finding this fascinating?!
Are there other worlds on Instagram that we are not a part of!?!
I know I have only just scratched the surface and probably missed a lot in my quick intro. One thing I may absorb into my bag o’ tricks is the new app i was forced to download called symbolizer. ⓘⓣ ⓐⓒⓣⓤⓐⓛⓛⓨ ⓘⓢ ⓚⓘⓝⓓⓐ ⓚⓔⓦⓛ?!! well, if you were a tween you might answer “inr” (“ I no, rite?!!)!
“Plenty of adults say racist things, revert into ungrateful brats during the holidays, and demonstrate a tenuous grasp on world history. And yet these public shaming exercises tend to focus exclusively on teenagers. ... When adults shame teenagers on the Internet, we feel like we can separate ourselves from American racism and consumerism by pinning the problem on this new, amoral generation. ”—On the “ungrateful teen” beat
BEAUTY IS ONLY SKIN DEEP... BUT INSTAGRAM GOES ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE BONE
If you are a parent of a tween, stop right now and take this pop quiz.
There’s only one question.
Are you ready for it?
Is your kid on instagram?
a) No freaking way #inserteyeroll
b) Totes! #likeduh
If you answered A, um… you’re probably wrong.
And if you answered B… Congrats! You know a little bit about what your tween is doing online. So ahead and pat yourself on the back.
But know this: Your job is far from over. Because letting your child have an insta (you knew they called it that, right?) account without teaching them how to use it properly, is like buying your kid a car without teaching them how to drive.
Or some other metaphor that’s a little less lame. Still. The point I’m trying to make here is an important one so just bear with me.
So… Are you on instagram? Do you follow your child to see what he or she is doing? Is their account set to “private” with geotagging turned off? Have you instructed your children not to accept follower invites from anyone they don’t know? And to never, ever, ever give out any personal information like address, location or phone number? Like, ever?
Well done. You just earned 3 more insta points. Piece of cake, right?
Because those were only the starter questions. Now take this next set out for a spin:
Are you pissed because I said at the beginning that there would only be one question?
Well, guess what?
You have a tween now. Get used to it.
So have you told them yet how they should never post a picture that will hurt, embarrass or make someone feel left out? Explained to them — really sat down and explained — that any picture they post on instagram is out there forever? Even if they go back and delete it? Because that cute bikini pic they posted on vacay is just one screenshot away from landing in front of the wrong, creepy set of eyes?
Sad and hard to talk about… but true nonetheless.
So did you tell them?
If you’re anything like me, your answer falls somewhere between um, I think I did and well… kind of, sort of.
And that’s not enough.
Did you know that there are beauty pageants on instagram?
Well then you may want to sit down.
Because you know who the participants in these pageants are?
See, right now, as I sit here typing this, there is a tween girl with an iphone somewhere making a grid out of four pictures of her besties using instacollage or mixel or whatever cool new app is making the rounds this week (omg juxtaposer is sooooo amaze!)
When she’s finished, she will post that grid on instagram, and then write something along the lines of: BEAUTY CONTEST! VOTE SOMEONE OUT!
Did you just throw up in your mouth a little? I know I did when this whole thing blew up here on the Main Line over the weekend.
And I’ll get to that in a minute.
But wait. That’s not even the worst part. Because what happens next is this: People will actually vote for who they think is the least attractive in the comments, and whichever girl’s name is written the most will be awarded with a big fat X drawn across her face.
Do you want me to repeat that last part?
Of course you don’t but I’m going to anyway.
Whichever girl’s name is written the most will be awarded with a big fat X drawn across her face.
Then the question will be repeated two more times, until there is only one gorgeous X-free girl left standing — the homecoming queen, the fairest of them all, Miss Tween freaking America.
And you thought you had it tough in middle school because no one had invented Japanese hair straightening yet.
But don’t hate the players. They’re just kids.
And don’t hate the game. Instagram was designed to be an online photo-sharing app that let users pimp-out their pics with cool filters and then share them.
So who do we hate?
We hate the coaches.
Because we are the coaches.
And we are failing our children by not giving them the tools they need to properly navigate this scary new world, and by not monitoring their interactions in this world closely enough once we do.
I had heard about the beauty pageants from a friend in New York a few months ago. But I didn’t realize it was going on in my own town until late Saturday night, when, after five days of being on vacay in Mexico, I finally got in bed with my iphone and signed onto my daughter’s account to see what was going on.
Because part of the deal I have with my daughter is that until she turns 13, I can access her account any time. And if there are any followers, posts, comments or people she is following that I think are inappropriate, she will delete them, no questions asked. True story, except for the no questions asked part. Because she usually does have questions and/or arguements but I am her mom and I said so.
So I started scrolling down her news feed.
And that’s when I saw them.
The Beauty Contest grids.
About a half dozen of them.
And there, smiling out from one of the squares, was my kid.
When I asked her about it the next day, though, she said she knew someone had posted her picture as part of a contest, but that she didn’t really care.
Um… impressive, I guess?
Then again, she hadn’t been voted out yet.
There were other girls who weren’t so lucky.
And they were devastated which is a ridiculous understatement to say the least.
My first instinct was to block all the girls who had posted the grids from my daughter’s account.
But here’s the thing.
These girls were friends of my daughter’s who had been in my car, at my parties, in my house. They liked to dance, and sing camp songs, and bake brownies. They weren’t Heathers. Or Reginas. Or even Monas. And if you don’t know who Mona is, you need to go watch an ep of PLL like now.
These were good, sweet, funny girls who I knew and who I liked.
Yes, what they were doing was wrong.
But how could I blame them when they were playing a game they had never been given the rules to? My own daughter waved the grids off as all in good fun until I actually explained to her what made them so offensive and vile. In the wake of events like what took place in Steubenville, it’s becoming more important than ever for us to empower our kids with the tools they need to decipher right from wrong — both online and IRL.
And so instead of banishing the girls, I did this:
At first nothing much happened.
But then I noticed that the beauty grids were slowly starting to disappear from my daughter’s news feed. And in their place were things like this:
One by one, this little posse of fourth and fifth grade girls — who had just spent hours feeling bad about themselves — was starting to get it. And as they did, they picked themselves up and took to instagram to post inspirational messages of their own.
Did you just get chills?
I know I did. Because if this is not just the most amazing show of tween girl power, then I don’t know what is.
Clearly, when it come to social media, a little guidance goes a long way.
Which is why it’s time for us to take our collective blinders off and really pay attention. Because the minute we give our kids an iphone or ipod or any other gadget that puts technology quite literally in the palms of their hands, we become responsible for whatever happens next.
And please don’t ask me what a 10-year-old is doing with an iphone in the first place. Go right ahead and judge me. But I will stand by my decision any day of the week. The truth of the matter is, so many of the kids who don’t have cellphones are finding other ways to access these apps anyway.
Did you know that you don’t even need a cellphone to access apps like instagram and Facebook? All you need is a computer, or an iPad, or an iPod touch, or a tablet. Or someone else’s computer, iPad, iPod touch or tablet. It takes two seconds to open an instagram account for yourself on someone else’s phone; even less time to scroll through a friend’s news feed and see what they are seeing. Which makes it almost impossible to monitor what your kids are doing online when they are outside your home. And it is for exactly this reason that I choose to educate and prepare my kids instead of blindly preaching abstinence.
Technology is fluid, not static, and this is the first time in history that our kids know way more about something of so much importance than we do. It’s 2013… and whether we like it or not, our tweens are at the forefront of technology. Don’t you think it’s time to stop focusing on the WHY and start focusing on the HOW?
I think you all know the way I’d answer that question.
And consider this: Keeping my daughter off instagram would not have prevented another girl from posting her picture in an online beauty contest. It just would have prevented us from finding out about it.
So when my kids get home tonight, I’m going to take a few moments before all the after-school craziness sets in to sit down and really talk to them about what they are doing online, what they are seeing, and what it means to use social media correctly and responsibly.
This is something we should ALL be talking to our kids about. We potty train them, teach them good table manners, spend 10 minutes deciphering the food label on a candy bar before we let them eat it. And yet, when it coming to navigating the world of social media, for all intents and purposes, we hang them out to dry.
Asking our kids questions about what they’re doing, checking their news feeds at least once a day to see what they are viewing, scrolling through their profiles to see what they’re posting, investigating the people who want to follow them, finding out who they’ve given their password to and monitoring all of their accounts (because most kids have more than one instagram account in case you didn’t know) doesn’t make us helicopter parents.
It makes us smart parents.
And there is nothing more beautiful than being smart.
Why I Suddenly Love to Party Than Enjoy All-Star Sunday Experience?
PP: -Fast Paced Production numbers. (A lot of talents are able to perform and there are various artists/personalities) Di mo maiisip yung “Sapawan” cause everyone can shine. In Party Pilipinas, A LOT CAN HAPPEN IN ONE GAP. There’s the variety of artists giving us “pinag-isipan” na numbers and one would end up finding it cute or kakaiba. Balanced Production numbers. We get to see Song numbers and Dance numbers presented in a balanced order. We don’t get to see the same thing all over and over again. The teasers of Party Pilipinas are always cute and interesting too! You can tell the concepts are very-well planned and executed.
ASAP: Production Number-then Commercial. Wait for long. ASAP returns. Commercial again. Impatiently wait for your favorite artist’s performance. Commercial again. Ends up disappointed with the songs they picked his/her to sing or if not feels the performance could’ve been better if things are done differently. THEN HOPE FOR A BETTER SHOW NEXT SUNDAY. It’s like we’re always made to wait. We could use a lot of patience to this. It becomes obvious that “Sapawan” is present in this noontime show. An artist having his/her segment makes it impossible for other artists with greater potential to shine on stage. Majority of Sundays are full of Supah Dance or if not, Sexy dance numbers. We get to see the ASAP singers sing too but sadly, in a very little time only and let me say that it’s true that ASAP singers are more likeable and “popular” but sometimes they are asked to sing songs that are not suitable to them. Not everyone can pull off a song with his/her own better version without sounding so “Pilit”.
PP: ENTERTAINMENT IS WHAT THEY’RE REALLY AFTER. So, who cares if they don’t have the “BIGGER STARS” on PP? Their production numbers and fearless attempt on giving unconventional and sometimes unexpected musical performances really mean a lot to a viewer who seeks to taste a fresh squeeze of entertainment and got tired of seeing the SAME BIG STARS on the TV gap after gap. I remember they used to have a theatre-inspired segment that is done every week and it got a lot of praises from TV viewers appreciating their new and unique segment that didn’t happen on Philippine TV for a long time. It was all good and very entertaining. Who says entertainment requires a lot of BIG STARS to make viewers smile? Maybe it’s not all about the ARTISTS. Think of all the artists working behind the camera. Great minds put up a great show.
ASAP: ENTERTAINMENT, WHERE WERE YOU IN TIMES THAT WE NEEDED YOU? So, you think it’s still entertainment when we get to see a number of PROMOTIONAL PRODUCTION NUMBERS in favour of the new shows/new movies that will be shown by the network? Is it still entertainment when we get to see a bulk of BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS with the celebrant dancing just like what they did last year not even daring to try something new that the audience may be surprised to see? Is it still entertainment when we get to see ENDORSEMENT-DRIVEN PRODUCTION NUMBERS with an actress singing while showing her silky long hair then promote her new shampoo endorsement, same with an actor singing then promote his new beverage endorsement or an actress singing with her kids then promote a milk? Letting your artists’ promote UPCOMING FOREIGN CONCERTS by performing foreign artists’ hit songs? Seriously, let us Save OPM. We can’t stand to see anniversary celebration of artists in the industry, “Binebentang loveteams” doing pa-cute lip synching and Promo/endorsements happening repetitively. A NOONTIME VARIETY SHOW is different from a FASHION SHOW. ENTERTAINMENT is different from PROMOTION.
PP: Great Music Researchers. Being a music lover and a teenager, I’m always magnetized by the newest radio hits, chart-topping singles on music channels, and even the singles that are yet to be released on the artists’ albums. Party Pilipinas totally got me with this! They use music that are “IN” “HIP” and “FRESH” It’s always feel so good to hear their artists singing the track I just heard the day before on the radio. They never fail to give that “Party-Party” feel in every performance they make. They are breaking the barriers and use songs that are surely NEW and pick the right artist to sing the song-SUITABLE TO THE ARTIST’s AGE and PERSONALITY. SO, what if they are not that popular? Man, the production numbers are creatively done! What’s more amazing is that they provide them with new music with twists that are full of good vibes.
ASAP: WHERE ARE WE? OLD AGE? We can’t blame the show for they had been running for a very long time but hey, we’re on a generation where most people crave for shockers and not half-baked performances. Majority of the audiences are composed of the “Middle-class people” and of course, the “youth”. We shouldn’t be ignorant and give importance on the words “ELITE” and “CLASSIC” here. Not everyone gets to relate to the love songs and jukebox hits from the past. Why not use songs that are currently played on the radio more often? We’d love to hear new hits sung by ASAP’s great singers and when we say, new hits it’s not just about singing GLEE songs or Lady Gaga’s.
PP: Tweens. Certified gems of the show. I don’t know, there’s something about these tween stars that Julia and Kathryn don’t have. Maybe the packaging? The better and more suitable stories and projects assigned to them? JULIEMO definitely makes Party Pilipinas stand out. I’m not a fan but again, the creative team cares enough to give them the perfect material to perform on stage and make twitter buzz. These two are able to send the “kilig vibes” to the viewers without being trying hard. A lot of PP artists are YOUNG. Literally. Maybe that’s why, I like the numbers they offer every week. I mean, even the tween dancers dared to sing, Boy groups are not your typical “Gwapitos” but the songs they sing and the performance they give are very hip. Down to Mars and XLR8 have prove their talents. The tweens are talented and it’s important to remember that teenage years are meant to be enjoyed not to be rushed—REMEMBER THAT TO INFINITY.
ASAP: Yes, there are Star Magic artists but they aren’t able to struck the youth’s heart easily. ASAP lacks that “Tween Power” We see WORLD-CLASS performances by VETERAN, WELL-KNOWN, CHAMPION SINGERS of the music industry in ASAP but we aren’t 30-year old peeps who would appreciate the music they perform. There are TWEENS/TEENS who expect to see a lot from the young artists on the show (IF ONE ACTUALLY EXISTS!) I’m not saying that everyone in ASAP (front& back of the camera) is OLD or rushed into maturity but I hate to think that maybe that’s the exact reason why we don’t get to hear songs of the youth or see youthful production numbers in the show.
PP: Party Pilipinas has a heart for OPM. Given the fact that Ogie Alcasid is there, PP still welcomes OPM bands/artists and let their artists sing OPM hits of today and yesterday respectively. They sing foreign songs but the Party Pilipinas prioritizing OPM hits would mean Sundays are really meant to entertain the Filipino viewers who are reasonably drawn to OPM songs too (For the songs have been part of our lives too)
ASAP: One would feel the emptiness and COLONIAL MENTALITY comes to mind everytime ASAP ends without even paying homage to OPM. I don’t know what’s wrong with this show that I’ve grown to love for several years, now they don’t frequently invite OPM bands anymore. They let their artists sing OPM hits but majority are from the 80’s or 90’s. They don’t even consider doing beautiful covers with creative arrangements of a current OPM hit. They don’t get to sing the “REAL CHART TOPPERS” on the radio. The artists keep on singing the songs which are actually sung by their co-stars in ASAP. The same Angeline-Jovit-Sarah-Erik hits! How about the band hits? How about featuring new artists on the show? THERE ARE A LOT OF NEW OPM ACTS OUT THERE. THERE ARE NEW BANDS TOO. I thought ABS-CBN has MYX, but why is ASAP not being cooperative? A long time ago, we’ve been dying to hear Hey Daydreamer on ASAP or even BBS’ songs that are having massive airplays on the radio. Yeng Constantino has a lot of amazing covers, but we don’t get to hear them on the show. Why let her sing oldies and foreign songs? We’ve been expecting the show to strengthen OPM music industry again but they keep on giving tributes to international artists that we only get to love because of singing contests and videokes. WHAT’s WRONG ASAP?
“I’m not writing this because I hate ASAP, I’m writing this to express myself and to stress how hopeful I am that one day, ASAP would be more likeable again. I KNOW I HAVE A POINT. Eh ano kung wala ang ULTIMATE STARS sa Party Pilipinas? Eh ano kung di lahat ng Princess and Prince of music ay nandun? So what, if Party Pilipinas doesn’t have THE CHAMPIONS? At least they’re not stuck on the PAST. They aren’t afraid of reinventions. They don’t create segment for just one artist for the show wanted to let each and everyone to shine. They don’t overdo promotions, the numbers are unpredictable and they aren’t scared to experiment. Who doesn’t get tired of hearing himself say “Si ano na naman? Kanina sya na rin ah!” There are artist who have a lot of appearances in PP, but I’m telling you—DI NAKAKASAWA DAHIL LAGI MAY BAGONG TWIST SA NUMBERS NILA and everything is properly distributed. I once liked you, ASAP. I still watch the show, but I couldn’t help but switch the channel everytime I get to see the SAME THINGS happen all over again. For now, Party Pilipinas gets my vote and ASAP-0. Who cares about the ratings? We’re talking about creativity and entertainment here. WHAT’s QUALITY WITHOUT REAL VARIETY? The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
Call Me MaybeCarly Rae Jepsen
Carly Rae Jepsen: Call Me Maybe
Oh no, I’m hooked. Am I actually thirteen years old? Can someone get me a hairbrush to sing into? Does anyone want to have a pillow fight?