Each year, my Time Hop app never fails to remind me of my decision to wear head-to-toe cheetah print to prom. (In my defense, the year was 2012, and Jersey Shore was television’s biggest hit.) I put immense pressure on myself to find the perfect dress, take the perfect pictures, and have the perfect date, and to this day, I’m hit with a wave of anxiety when reminded of the build up to prom night. I can’t imagine having the added pressure teens today face to document the night for social feeds.
Most Gen-Zers are all too familiar with this social media-related anxiety, fearing scrutiny of everything they post. But that's why Instagram’s latest anti-bullying initiative, #KindComments, is so important. The update automatically filters out any offensive language from the comments section, so you’ll never even see any toxic words about a person’s character or appearance.
To celebrate the launch, Instagram hosted a Kindness Prom in LA on Saturday, where they highlighted some of the amazing work of real teens who are making the world a kinder place.
Digital stars like Dance Mom’s Mackenzie Ziegler (10.2 million Instagram followers), Disney’s Emily Skinner (853k Instagram followers), Nickelodeon’s Lilimar Hernandez (863k Instagram followers) and more met with 250 teens who are making a difference, including 13-year-old Lexi of @Curlistas, who helps girls embrace natural hair, and 16-year-old Kayla of @Kayla4Cares, who has supplied more than 16,000 video games, DVDs, and games to children’s hospitals across the country.
At the "prom," posters bearing sayings like “Kindness Is Beautiful” and “Cyber Kindess Is Contagious” made for great photo ops (naturally), and there was no popularity contest for prom court, with a crown-making station for everyone. A surprise performance from Charlie Puth capped off an already unforgettable night, and reminded us all the importance of being kind on the Internet!