There are days I wish I could quit social media altogether. It crosses my mind frequently, but ultimately it is not reasonable for me right now having two teens. It is my job to monitor their accounts, their etiquette, or lack of, their friends, what the current concerns are and so much more.
Lately, though it is getting harder for me, especially Instagram. I am concerned by the fading presence of modesty, particularly in young girls. Tiny bikinis that leave little to the imagination litter feeds. Low cut tops. Shorter than short shorts. Tight clothing that hugs curves and features as if to highlight and focus attention on them. As a mom of a boy, this is concerning. As a mom of a girl, this is concerning.
Girls are being reduced to the “perfection” of their bodies. Comments are rampant about bootys, boobs, abs and so on. All this, portraying the picture that your worth and power is based on your body. No one will be able to measure up to this standard forever, and some never.
I cringe when I see comments like these direct quotes, “I wish I could be you,” “Why can’t I be beautiful?” “Body goals.” I want to grab these children and say, you are beautiful, there is no one like you, and these are not goals! Ugh! Their precious, immature and permeable hearts! I think my soul sheds tears every time I read these comments.
I understand in young, immature minds that is what they think. I have been there. We as parents have the power to speak into that faulty thinking, though. If I think a post is even remotely inappropriate, you better bet it is being deleted. It has happened; it will happen, and it will continue to happen. I will never explain or apologize to anyone for that! Also, we cannot control what others post or comment, but we can sure communicate with our children about what is and is not appropriate.
It saddens me to see girls so young using their bodies to draw attention, affection, approval, power and validation. How this will impact them as they grow older is even more concerning. Our girls must know if they want to be respected and cherished for their hearts and minds, and if not now, someday they will; that is what they must accentuate. Our outward bodies decline quickly. Inward beauty has the potential only to get better as we age.
Equally as tragic are the boys who are looking at and commenting on these photos. They are not learning to respect girls. They see what is as it is! That is all! They are being bombarded with physical images that are hard to remove from their minds. The impacts of this, as they mature, are devastating.
The prevalence of pornography addiction is astounding. When I was, a child boys had to sneak and steal magazines and go off into hidden places to look at them. Now it seems as if what they are holding in their hands right under our noses borders on pornography. It is in my feed, and what is in theirs is worse! This is a problem on so many levels. Boys grow up to be men. Once the seed of addiction is planted in the adolescent years, it is VERY hard to overcome in the adult years. Porn and sexual addictions are destroying today’s families. If you do not, believe me, visit websites like Route 1520. Read the book, Surfing for God by Michael John Cusick. It is real. It is rampant friends! There is hope but not without going through hell first!
Sex trafficking and pedophilia are also alive and well in our world. We like to turn a deaf ear and cast a blind eye to these problems, but they are not going away. They are in our community, our churches and sometimes our homes. Who knows who is looking at our children’s photos. There are so many ways to access them and then do with those faces and bodies sickening things. Please don’t be naive.
I pray for the social media trend to shift from worth and approval based on my body, friends, likes, the number of comments and successful social lives. I pray girls and boys, too, learn they are already fully accepted and approved of by those who truly love them for who they are on the inside, not the outside. It is a pervasive battlefield where the enemy has a strong foothold, though. We must fight back!
Technology continues to change and evolve. Our talks and teachings with our children must too. Morals have not changed; we have changed. It takes more strength, courage, and prayer to be steadfast than streamlined. It is true, but it is entirely possible, and our children’s hearts are entirely worth it!