Why I Regret Following My Niece on Social Media

Times flies when you’re watching someone else grow up. When I first held my niece, a tiny brown nugget with curly black hair and wide eyes, I just knew she’d break in half. What seems like mere days later, she grew into a toddler exploring her senses and experiencing the small wonders of the world. She could watch Dora the Explorer for hoursor sit next to the kitchen sink as she assisted me with the dishes. My little helper, free of corruption and full of innocence. But before I knew it, she went from clutching her American Girl doll to clutching her smartphone.

My internal alarm never sounded when she started her Facebook page, because she couldn’t be capable of saying or showing much, right? Boy, was I wrong. She swapped “doing homework” statuses for Wale’s “Bad” music lyrics. And this, dear readers, was the beginning of the end of my niece and I’s social media relationship.

Instagram was the final stab to the heart.

With each too-hot-for-IG pic, I reach for the phone to stage an intervention. My photo-sharing feed is bombarded with images of her in nothing but a towel and glimpses of her pre-teen midriff–a cry for Likes. She’s now even convinced that labeling herself a “bad bitch” is acceptable. Sigh.

When did she get become so misguided? Who’s to blame? Is the oversaturation of pop culture online the culprit?

Social media is the portal to every celebrity’s whereabouts, thoughts and mistakes. Whether it’s Rihanna toking from a hotel bed or Kim Kardashian flaunting her best assets, growing up too fast is the new norm for Generation X. She’s young and has time to learn which path to take, but I can’t help but yearn for the little girl playing with her Barbie dream house instead of sharing selfies of her favorite duck lip pose.