It seems that TV chef Jamie Oliver is on his next crusade,
The father of five says he has banned his 14-year-old daughter Daisy from sharing selfies, describing them as the unhealthy “sugar of social media”.
I like, Oliver, are among the first generation of parents learning to deal with children sharing photos online.
Unlike Oliver however, I rarely post pictures myself and I don’t even have an Instagram account.
But may be that is where I am going wrong.
I recently challenged one of my daughters not only on the amount of photographs of herself that she was posting on social media, but also over pictures of some of her and her friends posing in ways which I saw as inappropriate.
I tried to make her understand that the pouty-lipped poses and self-indulgent selfies could be seen as provocative.
She looked at me blankly as if she didn’t have a clue what I was talking about.
Most of these selfies are sent via private chat, apparently, to a select group of their friends and ‘everyone does it.’
Being a paranoid mother with all the cynicism which comes with being a parent and a journalist , I was unconvinced.
I asked her not to continue posting such images. But it left me feeling uneasy, I was imposing on her pictures my perception of what they meant.
Obviously in the wrong hands they could definitely be misinterpreted, but among a group of 13 year old girls?
Maybe they were more innocent than I at first assumed.
Equally, if not more, worrying is the reasons behind the posting of pictures,
My concern – which is shared by a growing number of child psychologists – is the constant need this age group has to get as many ‘likes’ as possible.
It is the constant seeking of approval for the way they look that sends shivers down my spine.
It is this aspect that led to Oliver calling this selfie-taking among young teens the ‘sugar of social media’ due to its addictive nature.
But just how do you tackle it ? It is alright for Oliver to say that he is ‘banning’ Daisy posting pictures of herself but how exactly is he policing it? We cannot constantly check our children’s private chats, as much as we would like to. There are parents who try, but that way madness lies.
Adolescents will have secrets, we as parents have to try to accept that.Policing their Instagram is not going to help to keep those all-important lines of communication open.