My Medium colleague Jason Stirman received a letter from his son's middle school principal asking parents to prohibit fifth and sixth graders from participating in social media, and uses Instagram's terms of service as a straw man.
(The principal) immediately goes on to say, "Our children grow up so fast. Let them stay young as long as we can…."
Letting my kids stay young as long as they can is not a parenting goal of mine.
In fact, taken at face value, I'm confident this parenting strategy would do more harm than good. It is a goal of mine to foster a child-like perspective which produces imaginative play and a sociable personality, both of which allow my kids to be kids and provide a good foundation for being a successful, functioning adult.
The rate at which children mature physically, mentally, and emotionally, is highly individualized. Some kids just grow up faster than others. If the email I received signifies that this school has a goal of keeping kids young for as long as possible, I'm not sure that the school and I are on the same page.
Instagram isn't forcing my son to grow up faster. In fact, it's helping him maintain an open mind and a playful imagination. It's also providing me a window in to his world, which I love. I'm his biggest fan.
Photo above from Common Sense Media's helpful article "5 Reasons You Don't Need to Worry About Kids and Social Media"