Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders has a modest Instagram account that has caught the attention of a few others who refer to him as a master at using the photo social media site. Bustle describes Sanders Instagram account as one to check first thing in the morning, and throughout the day, anxiously waiting for his next post. However, while Sanders may have mastered the perfect campaign strategy through social media, parents should follow his lead and become commanders of the technology that comes so easy to their middle schoolers.
“Feel the Bern” is his campaign slogan, which is simple and fits the feel of his grassroots movement. Online supporters have made the Socialist Instagram master the topic of conversation. These backers who champion Sanders on social media also pack the seats in the stadiums when he speaks.
According to Bustle, an active social media presence can build up or crush a brand. If it is possible to Instagram to the presidency, then Bustle says, Sanders may well be on his way.
Here Are 15 Instagram Moments From the Master:
15. Trick or Treating with the grandchildren as himself
14. Signing a bill with the caption, “Our government belongs to all of the people, not just the 1 percent.” He even used the split screen effect
13. Pitching baseball for his grandson
12. In June 1959, he could have been Ben Affleck’s body double
11. Back to the Future with Christopher Lloyd?
10. Carrying his grandson, Dylan, through a field
9. Starting politician Sanders could be a Larry David look-a-like
8. Walking with the veterans, in his uniform, on Memorial Day
7. #BabiesForBernie is born as a toddler is pictured holding a support poster
6. Dancing with Ellen DeGeneres
5. Mayor Sanders rocking ‘80s style thick-rimmed glasses
4. “Rosie the Riveter” wearing a Bernie hat, captioned, “The Bernie Store, where everything is union-made, union printed, and Made in the USA”
3. Dylan wearing a button in support of grandpa and enjoying the sun during the Burlington Rally
2. Playing the train whistle to Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash with @bradmyersmusic
1. Big smile, with a glare from Hillary Clinton as she “Feels the Bern”
Sanders may have mastered the technology necessary to gain attention on Instagram, but he is not the only one to receive recognition. America’s teens and tweens or middle schoolers have the highest demographics on Instagram, according to WTHR Channel 13 Indiana. Therefore, while adults are following the campaign trail on the Internet and through social media, they should also be aware of what their children are doing on the web, who they are talking to, and what is being said.
According to two eighth-graders in Indiana, Rachel Memmer and Natalie Hanson, teenagers spend the majority of their free time texting, updating their status on social media, and taking a quick picture to post on Instagram. What teenagers do not understand is that once it is out on the World Wide Web, it is impossible to get it back. The picture can be deleted; however, it is impossible to know how many times it has been viewed, shared, or downloaded by others. What parents do not realize is what their children are posting.
Text-speak is what used to be referred to as teen-speak and today’s technology has a language all its own. Young people express feelings and thoughts through emoticons (emojis), photos, and acronyms. As a result, Instagram is popular with the tweens and teens. The demographics show middle schoolers are their most frequent users. Maybe that is what keeps Instagram Master Sanders feeling so young.
Posting pictures give clear insight into the unexpressed feelings of students for their followers to view. Photos of current activities are often posted. Then, friends rate each other’s pictures. Instagram is the ultimate selfie popularity site, according to the eighth-grade girls.
Parents need to learn the ever-changing shorthand of texting and the Internet, so they can understand what their children are doing online. It is important to learn the vocabulary.
A Parents Instagram Vocabulary Lesson From Memmer and Hanson:
• TBH – to be honest
• BMS – broke my scale (the scale commonly referred to here is the rating of a photo from 1 to 10)
• SMH – shake my hand
• The flame emoji – the other person is hot
• A date posted next to a person’s name – a relationship has started, either friend or romantic
• The date disappears – the relationship has ended
• Instagram is the site teens and tweens tune into after 8 p.m. when the house is quiet, according to Memmer.
• Unable to decode a message – Indiana State Police Detective Kevin Getz, who is with the division of internet crimes against children, suggests printing out the conversation and calmly asking the child what different things mean in their message. Moreover, parents should also know what sites their kids are using and their passwords. According to Getz, going to the source and talking with teens is the best way to communicate safety concerns on the web.
Since two middle school girls were tried for allegedly attempting to kill a classmate for the fictional character Slender Man, parents have become more vigilant in keeping up with their children’s screen time. In August 2015, the website CarefulParents was launched. People can post information, such as articles and ideas, to help keep up with social media terminology.
CarefulParents was designed to keep parents up to date on current trends and how to talk to their children about what they put on social media. Once something goes out on the Internet, it cannot be taken back. While users can delete everything afterward, it has already been shared, downloaded, and emailed.
Top 50 Chat Acronyms Parents Need to Know:
- 8 – ate or oral sex
- 1337 – elite
- 143 – I love you
- 182 – I hate you
- 1174 – Nude Club
These are only a few of the acronyms teens use when chatting on the Internet and posting pictures on Instagram. There is no such thing as Internet police, therefore, parents have to learn the lingo, monitor sites their children visit, and find out what they are up to before it is too late.
For example, someone had a new follower on Facebook. When she googled the name, he came up on the Sex Offender Registry. She has three children, but the only people who had access to their pictures were her friends. She posted this man’s picture as it appeared on the registry. It was shared by many, and within an hour, the man’s page was disabled.
Some people are not legally allowed to be on social media websites. However, that does not stop them from using a fake name or signing up as themselves because the sites cannot possibly screen everyone who joins.
There are good things about social media. Sanders is using Instagram to show how much he enjoys his grandchildren, and it has him gaining popularity in the polls. Teenagers can interview people their age in other countries for homework or fun, thanks to modern technology. Moreover, people often find jobs via social media. According to a Wal-Mart executive, it is not uncommon for potential employees to be reviewed on social media sites. This way, employers can gauge their behavior in a casual environment prior to hiring them. Keeping this in mind, parents should establish ground rules for proper social media usage and master the language of middle schoolers.
Opinion by Jeanette Smith
Edited by Leigh Haugh
Bustle: The 15 Greatest Bernie Sanders Instagram Photos, Ranked From Pretty Brilliant to Completely Perfect
WTHR: How to Decode Your Child’s Instagram
CarefulParents: Top 50 Chat Acronyms Parents Should Know
Top Article Image Courtesy of Erik J. Olson’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inline Image Courtesy of Thomas Hawk’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Featured Image Courtesy of Paul Reynold’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License