On a scale of 1 to 10, how savvy would you say you are when it comes to keeping tabs of your tween on Instagram?
Do you follow their account? Check to make sure their profile is set to "private"? Keep a close eye on who and what they're viewing?
Do you weed out all the sketchy followers? Delete inappropriate content and occasionally drop a hashtag or participate in a Flashback Friday from time to time?
Well, then, congratulations. You just scored a 3. Because while you may think you know what your tween is up to on Instagram, chances are, you actually have no idea. Don't believe me? Let's put it to the test. How? With a pop quiz designed to help you to determine how much about what your tween is doing online you actually understand.
Here's how it works: Answer the following 20 questions as best you can BY YOURSELF, then ask your child to do the same. Calculate your scores by giving yourself five points for every right answer. How do you know if your answers are right? By talking to your tween. And if they don't know the answers, well, at least you've opened up the lines of communication. You'll also find an answer key at the end of this post. Because while some parents are busy preaching abstinence when it comes to tweens and technology, I choose the route of education and preparation. And I will stand by that decision any day of the week.
So, are you ready to bring it?
Good. Then sit down with your TWING and get going. (TWING = TWeen on INstaGram, btw, but don't worry if you didn't already know that one because I just totally made it up!)
QUIZ: Are You Smarter Than Your Fifth Grader on Instagram?
1. What does smexy mean?
2. How do you make a duckface?
3. What happens on #tbt?
4.Which of the following phrases appear in your child's bio: dance is my life, shine bright like a diamond, turn that blue button green, you see numbers I see home?
5. Who was Broadway Baby?
6. What is #foodporn?
7. Why would your child ask someone to kik them?
8. What happens on Selfie Sunday?
9. Can you write your name in emoji?
10. What does HACKED! mean?
11. How do you spell the word "cool"?
12. What is today's photo challenge?
13. Abbreviate the following words: adorable, jealous, totally, and awkward
14. Name three Zieglers.
15. How many "gs" are in the word swag?
16. What's an OOTD?
17. What do ikr and np mean?
18. What is Justin Bieber's middle name?
19. What is a zero second ninja?
20. How many instagram accounts does your child have? (Hint: if your answer was one, you are almost definitely wrong).
BONUS: What are your child's usernames on kik, snapchat, gifboom, wanelo and vine? Give yourself two points for each correct answer.
How'd you do? Did you crush it like the Bellas at Nationals? Or are you feeling more than a little pitch-slapped right about now?
Obviously, this quiz was intended for fun. But if you failed to answer more than five questions correctly, it's probably time to re-examine your strategies for keeping tabs on your kids.
And if you scored over 100 percent? Congratulations! You may just be smart enough to hang with your fifth grader after all.
1. "Smexy" is a mashup of the words smart and sexy, but most tweens use it as a stand-in for the latter.
2. Duckface is a facial expression made by pressing your lips together like a duck, or like you're about to give someone a kiss. It is usually accompanied by a peace sign, or by throwing attitude at the camera. Search "#duckface" on instagram and you'll find about a billion pictures of tween girls emulating this move.
3. #tbt stands for throwback thursday. Every Thursday, users post old pics on Instagram and tag them with either #tbt or #throwback. Please note that "old" can mean anything from 10 years ago... to yesterday.
4. My daughter currently has two of these phrases in her Instagram bio, but all four have been up there from time to time. "You see numbers I see home" refers to a camp zipcode, and is basically a sweet sentiment about the way some tweens feel about camp. But you should know that "turn that blue button green" is the way tweens ask other kids to follow them (the Instagram "follow" button is blue, but changes to green when someone clicks on it to follow your posts). So if you're not down with that, you'll want to keep a close eye on your kids' bio. You should be doing that anyway, because they change them constantly.
5. Tweens LOVE Broadway Baby! Broadway Baby was Abby Lee Miller's (of "Dance Moms") dog. An episode aired a few weeks ago during which Broadway Baby died. Instagram news feeds blew up with pictures of Broadway Baby with comments like this "OMG crying so many tears. I feel so bad for Abby! Pets are never mad at you and they always love you."
6. #foodporn is a hashtag kids use when they post pics of amazing looking or tasting food. Harmeless, except for the fact that your tween is now comfortable using the word "porn" to represent something positive.
7. Kik is an app that lets kids message each other in real time (like BBM). Tweens will often ask for each other's kik user names in instagram comments -- "what's your kik?" or "i'm soooo bored, can someone pls kik me?" Some even post their kiks in their bios.
8. Every Sunday, many tweens on Instagram take pics of themselves -- known as "selfies" -- and post them with the hashtag #selfiesunday. Sometimes these pictures are funny; sometimes they are a little more provocative. And anyone who does a search for the #selfiesunday hashtag on Instagram can find them.
9. Emojis are the little icons you see in so many of the Instagram comments. Kids use them to spell out words. How? They replace each letter in the word or in their name with an emoji that looks similar to it. For example, a smiley face becomes an O, a lightening bolt becomes an S, a check mark becomes a V, etc. Tweens often hold contests to see who can write their name in emoji the best. Please note that tweens also use emojis in their comments to represent what they are feeling. There are sad faces, mad faces, embarassed faces. But there are also emojis of guns, bombs, devils, needles, pills, alcoholic drinks and more. Definitely worth familiarizing yourself with these.
10. If your child has been HACKED! it means that one of their friends has swiped their phone or iPod, taken a picture with it and then posted that picture on your child's new feed with the hashtag #HACKED! It is meant as a joke, or in good fun. But what it means is that either your child has left their iPod or phone unattended long enough for someone to do this without their knowledge. Or, more likely, that they've given one of their friends permission to hack them. I see this ALL THE TIME. Not only do tweens willingly let their friends hack their phones and post on their behalf, they also give out their password to almost any friend who asks without thinking twice. Make sure you let them know how dangerous this is.
11. Cool, in insta-speak, becomes "kewl."
12. Every month, Instagram users are challenged to take a picture of a different item -- the sky, your best friend, your favorite color -- on each day, and then post it with the hashtag #(whatever month it is) photochallenge. For example, this month it would be #aprilphotochallenge. The challenge is actually a fun game/project that can inspire your tween to be a little more creative with their photos. But generally speaking, most tweens drop out of the challenge somewhere around day 10.
13. Adorbs, jelly, totes, awk.
14. The Zieglers are, generally speaking, the most popular "characters" on the reality show "Dance Moms." Your tween's newsfeed is most likely filled with pictures of them. There are two daughters -- Maddie and Mackenzie. Tweens are OBSESSED with these two girls and most want to be just like Maddie, because she is, like, totally the best dancer on the show! Their mom -- who is also on the show -- is Melissa.
15. You can't have swag unless you spell it with TWO g's.
16. OOTD stands for "Outfit Of The Day." Tweens use this hashstag to post pics of what they are wearing on a particular day, and then list each item. These posts usually include brand names "Zara Terez leggings," "Wilfox tee," "Ma new wedge sneakers." Ma means "my" on insta, btw.
17. ikr = I know, right? and np = no problem
18. Justin Bieber's middle name is Drew. As in "JUSTIN DREW BIEBER IS MY LIFE!!!!!!!!!" Some tweens even add "Bieber" or "1D" (for One Direction) to the end of their user names.
19. A #zersecondninja is a person who "likes" one of your pictures zero seconds after you posted it. Tweens are OBSESSED with this concept, and will take a screen shot every time they see that elusive "0 seconds ago" next to a like on one of their posts. They will then post the screen shot to their feed, tagging the "liker" as a #zerosecondninja. Just another example of how quickly everything your tween does on Instagram can be broadcast to a larger audience.
20. Many tweens -- particularly girls -- open second, third and fourth Instagram accounts with another friend or groups of friends. This means they all share the same passwords on these accounts, and can therefore post on each other's behalves when they are not together. Some kids use these accounts simply to post fun images of nails (very popular on Instagram) or cool fashion finds. But others use them as a way to post group shots and make other kids feel jealous and left out.
BONUS: These are all apps that are popular ways for tweens to message and/or video chat -- "vc" -- with each other. Most tweens who are on instagram are also on at least one of these other accounts, so make sure you do your homework.
Follow Hollee Actman Becker on Twitter: www.twitter.com/holleewoodworld