The Secret Language of Girls on Instagram

Girl on Cell Phone

TIME featured an article by Rachel Simmons on November 10, 2014 titled The Secret Language of Girls on Instagram. If you’re a parent, particularly of daughters, it’s worth your time.

Girls have quietly repurposed the photo-sharing app into a barometer for popularity, friendship status and self-worth.

Simmons suggests that the simplicity of Instagram is deceiving.

Look more closely, and you find the Rosetta Stone of girl angst: a way for tweens and teens to find out what their peers really think of them (Was that comment about my dress a joke or did she mean it?), who likes you (Why wasn’t I included in that picture?), even how many people like them (if you post and get too few likes, you might feel “Instashame,” as one young woman calls it). They can obsess over their friendships, monitoring social ups and downs in extreme detail. They can strategically post at high traffic hours when they know peers are killing time between homework assignments. “Likes,” after all, feel like a public, tangible, reassuring statement of a girl’s social status.

The article concludes with a few of the ways girls are leveraging Instagram to do much more than just share photos:

  1. To know what friends really think of them
  2. To measure how much a friend likes you
  3. As a public barometer of popularity
  4. A way to retaliate
  5. A personal branding machine

In this digital age, when “Likes” are seen as “a public, tangible, reassuring statement of a girl’s social status,” we must point the hearts of our young people in the direction of ancient wisdom. We must be truth-tellers in a world full of vanity and lies. We must be diligently active as parents, grandparents, and mature disciples of Christ in teaching the young ladies around us:

You are so much more than a body.

God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Gen 1:27)

Because you are created in the image of God, you are beautiful.

I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psa 139:14)

Your body has been given to you that you might glorify God.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Cor 6:19-20)

To gauge your self-worth on “Likes” is to build your life on sand.

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. (Prov 31:30)

The applause that matters most is the applause of heaven.

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. (Eccl 12:13-14)

The first key to true joy is MORE … of God.

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. (Psa 63:1-3)

The second key to true joy is LESS … of self.

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?” (Mark 8:34-37)