Beyond Lipsticks and Trendy Beards: Navigating School Children’s Longingness in the Age of Instagram

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“Amongst the rustling of notebooks and the chatter in the class,
A quiet obsession exists but gets unnoticed, alas. A yearning for trendy beards, tattoos, and lipstick, a desire to appear glamorous, or, as they call it in GRWM videos, “chic.” The time passes with the scrolling of Instagram reels, They observe the impeccable fashion sense of their influencers, they copy them in high heels. They long to imitate their looks, get huge numbers of followers, and be the sensation,
And to bask in the spotlight with comments of adoration.”

Amidst the hustle and bustle of school life, toddlers yearn for the latest makeup and hairstyles, and adolescents for trendy beards, eager to look mature and confident. Earlier, school-going children were renowned for their curiosity, creativity, and yearning to explore new ideas; concern for the body and appearance was a thing of adulthood. Now, as young as seven-year-olds are beginning to exhibit an interest in cosmetics and hair styling. The power of social media, particularly Instagram, has created a new culture of beauty and fashion that has engendered a longingness for glamour and fame.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Lipstick and blush can have an irresistible allure for young girls. They are drawn to the transformational promise, shiny packaging, and vibrant colors. Makeup, to them, is a way to express themselves, to stand out from the crowd, and a doorway into the glamorous world of adulthood. It is concerning to see how young girls are becoming more at ease showing off their bodies on social media sites. Girls, in order to be noticed and validated by their peers, expose their bodies, which has led to a hypersexualized culture. Trendy beards, tattoos, and hairstyles are often the focal points of boys’ desire, as they seek to conform to societal ideals of manhood and attractiveness.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

In recent years, it has become more typical for students to be in romantic relationships at a young age. While it is normal for teenagers to feel attraction and get curious about forming romantic relationships at this age, the pressure to fit in with society’s expectations and the influence of social media can have a detrimental effect on their mental health, leading to the diminishing of their innocence. The portrayal of relationships in romantic or intimate reels or YouTube shorts, such as couples kissing or dancing, may not be realistic or healthy, but for young kids, this becomes idealistic behavior to be imitated. When they see their peers or role models involved in such relationships, they might start to believe that they must be in a relationship in order to belong or be accepted. This may cause them to act in certain ways without fully comprehending the meaning or consequences of their choices, such as pursuing a relationship.

 
 
 

Early exposure to specific media forms can help a child lose their innocence. Children today are exposed to a wide range of content at a much younger age than in previous generations due to the availability of smartphones, tablets, and laptops in their hands. This can range from sexually explicit material to violent video games, and it can affect a child’s perceptions and behavior over time. The pressure to follow social norms and to participate in activities that might be inappropriate for their age can also cause children to lose their innocence. Children may engage in activities and behaviors’ that aren’t necessarily appropriate for their age when exposed to social media platforms like Instagram and Moj, which foster a sense of competition and comparison.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Instead of guiding them towards the right path and monitoring what they are exposed to over social media, parents are often seen indulging in creating reels of their children and adorning them with makeup, which can lead to bathing their souls in an unrealistic and superficial world, perpetuating the notion that virtual appearance is more important than substance.

 
 
 

Parents must become more conscious of the possible effects that overly frequent social media use at this delicate age and inflated beauty standards may have on their kids. They should make it a priority to have discussions with their children about their self-worth and the changes they are going through in their bodies, and to help them grow up with a healthy sense of self-esteem that is based on their character and values rather than their appearance. Teaching kids the value of authenticity and the fact that their worth is not based on how many likes or followers they have on social media is crucial. Parents can also serve as good role models by limiting their own social media usage and emphasizing forging genuine relationships in the real world. Educators are also required to be caregivers and emotionally available to have open discussions with the students. The apps should also think of certain restrictions to prevent the overly use of them by young toddlers.

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