heard on the street

As always, I love it when you guys forward me articles. Today’s Heard on the Street offers small bits of two interesting perspectives on subjects near and dear to our hearts – our kids. First an article about Instagram published on CNET this week. Michelle Meyers shares her thoughts from the perspective of a mom of tween/teens in “How Instagram Became the Social Network for Teens“.

We parents have been advised over and over again by educators that our tween-age kids are just too young for Facebook. Most are just not mature enough to gauge what’s appropriate for posting and to know how to respond to cyberbullying or contacts from strangers or spammers.

But with Instagram our guards were down. We never really imagined how it would be used. When my daughter asked permission to download the app, I was frankly excited that she was showing interest in photography. I love using the app and was unaware of the age restriction.

I had heard stories of kids on Instagram who had lost friends over not being included in activities posted to the site. But I only really caught onto Instagram’s ubiquity as a tweenage social network the day before school started this year, when my daughter’s middle school sent out class schedules to individual families using its password protected Web site. Within an hour of viewing the class schedule, my daughter had scribbled out a chart of who was in each of her classes. When I asked how she had figured it all out, she responded, “Everybody posted their schedules on Instagram.”

That started me looking through her account. In another Facebook-like status update, she posted a photo of a note she wrote on her iPod Touch that read, “So glad it’s a 3 day weekend!!!” That got 31 likes.

Concerns over Instagram have spurred articles like this one in the Washington Post called “What parents need to know about Instagram” and an even more informative one it links to from Yoursphere for Parents called, “Is it okay for kids? What parents need to know.”

But a friend of mine just offered up a theory on Instagram’s youth popularity based on the behavior of his 14-year-old daughter and her friends who are also crazy for Instagram. She’s been on Facebook since she was 12 and her parents have always warned her that with other parents (and grandparents) on the social network, she needed to keep her act very clean.

However, her grandparents haven’t yet caught wind of Instagram, so she and her friends can be a little freer with what they post and comment on there.

Of course, it may just be a matter of time before older folks join the party. As Instagram founder Systrom noted, the service’s numbers are growing on “the elderly side” as well.

This “elderly” says thanks for the heads up.


The second article is from our own Dallas Morning News. You’re going to love this interview with author Paul Tough. Here’s a snippet, but for sure check out the entire article Point Person: Our Q&A with Author Paul Tough on Letting Children Fail. He even refers to “grit”, my new favorite term.

Other parts of the book emphasize the importance of letting a child fail. In other words, don’t artificially build self-esteem by giving every kid in the soccer league a trophy, win or lose. What does the research show?

This is a realm where there’s not a lot of hard science about how this works, but certainly this is my experience and the experience of lots of psychologists and teachers and parents – and kids whom I’ve talked to. I think we’ve spent a lot of time in the last 20 years or so being very worried about the self-esteem of our kids. We felt that if they experience a lot of adversity and failure, that would somehow wound them or harm them in some way. What we’re discovering in lots of different ways is that the opposite is true, that self-esteem is not necessarily what you want for your kids. That’s not necessarily what you want for your kids. What builds character is failing – and then succeeding. One place where I saw this was in this chess program. I spent a couple of years following this chess team in Brooklyn. They did amazingly. They had this teacher who was really hard on them and did not try to tell them they were winners no matter what. She made it clear that either you win your chess game or you lose, and if you lose, it’s partly your fault. And you can look at what happened. You don’t have to beat yourself up about it, but you can actually figure out what went wrong and improve yourself. At a certain point in American history, we knew that that was what kids loved, when grownups look back on a sports coach or a music teachers or a teacher of any kind. What you love is not the teacher who made you feel great but the teacher who made you understand what you didn’t have and made you believe you could achieve what you weren’t able to achieve, then helped you get there. Not through some sort of happy talk and slogans about how anything is possible, but through actual teaching and showing you: You’re doing this wrong, and here’s how to do it right. Kids respond really positively to that. There’s nothing that makes kids feel better and more independent and more confident than not being able to do something, and then being able to do it. It’s absolutely true that, if we have soccer leagues where there are no winners or losers, there’s no growth.

Such good and helpful info – because dishes are things that kids don’t think they know how to do. Think of all the confidence and independence we’re offering them each and every time we step away from the sink, and the washing machine, and stove… just sayin’.

Keep it coming folks.

Thanks for walking the road with me.


Pin It on Pinterest