The Elimination Game on Instagram is Unkind



Over the past month I’ve had parents from various schools ask for advice about an unkind game that’s happening involving their children on Instagram.


I spoke to a year group of 10-11 year olds this week about it and they called it the ‘Elimination Game.’


It’s where the author uses the collage feature within the app that allows four photos to merge into each corner of the screen, which is harmless enough, but then they write a question underneath along the lines of,


“Who is the prettiest?” or “Which one is out?”


Now I like Instagram and I don’t think the answer is to ban children’s use of it. Some children use paper and pens to write or draw unkind things about others but we don’t ban paper and pens. So what course of action do we have open to us in stamping out this unkind game?


First of all it is useful to know that if the author can be identified then they have the ability to delete the photo from view. With this in mind it makes sense to find out who this is. So then you need to choose a course of action that you are most comfortable with; either ask the school to deal with it, collectively with other parents make the author’s parent aware or empower your child and their friends to ask the author to delete it.


When I spoke with sixty Year 6’s about it this week I made the point that I didn’t think that the author had intended to hurt or upset the people they had posted on the collage but that they genuinely thought it was a bit of a laugh. The author then put their hand up and admitted doing it and agreed to delete it. This prompted a wave of other children to come forward and reveal that it was going on all the time and they didn’t like it.


They completely understood that it was an unkind thing to do so I asked,


“Why don’t all of you post elimination games are cruel and should stop? After all you have the power to do something about it amongst yourselves with adult support.”


31% 7-11’s say mean comments stop them enjoying time online


source: Ofcom 2012 and Cybersafe Opinion Leader Report 2013


Adults need to teach children to make sensible choices online and what to do if they make a mistake just as they do when there is an upset in the playground.




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