If you know me personally, you will know that my two teenagers do not have social media. They have smartphones, but no Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, or anything else. This is a decision I have made to keep my kids mentally and emotionally healthy. It is the right decision for us, but it doesn’t mean that it’s the right decision for your family and your children.
But. For the time being, it does mean I don’t have to worry about my 14-year-old daughter jumping on the latest trend to garner new social media followers: leaving social media “business cards” of a sort in the pants pockets of clothing on the rack at stores.
Sound confusing? It is to me, too. But there are, of course, TikTok videos of girls doing this, and the logic goes something like this:
“If I leave my social media info in the pocket of these pants at Target, the person who buys them will find it and follow me! Yay, new followers!”
Yeah, I don’t get it, either. But beyond being weird, it’s just plain dangerous! There is zero guarantee that those pants aren’t gonna be bought by a total creeper. If these girls are trying to get followers their own age, that might work, but, my 16-year-old son shops from the men’s department, so you’re just as likely to be passing along your contact info to a 45-year-old Scary McGary as you are to a Totally Cute Teenage Dream.
GIRLS. Please, do not do this!
Social media can be a super fun way to share your life with your friends and family, with safe people KNOWN to you. But the fact is, lots and lots of grown men use social media to groom and prey on teenage girls for their own sexual gratification.
It is very hard to prove someone is who they say they are from behind a screen. But it is very easy for someone who has your social media details to find you in real life if they want to.
I’m not trying to be a fear monger here, but I do not think it’s overstating the fact to say that leaving your social media contact info in the pocket of men’s clothing at a random store is high-risk behavior.
Also, you’re fantastic the way you are. You do NOT need more social media followers to be loved, admired, or successful.
So, parents, I feel like I shouldn’t have to say this, but just in case: if your kids are using the socials, can you please double-check real quick that they aren’t putting their contact info into packages of Hanes briefs at Target?
It’ll help me sleep tonight, for real.