How To Raise Children In the Influencer Generation

How do you raise children who are part of the influencer generation? It’s a very good question! One thing for certain is that I do not profess to be an expert. I use social media extensively, but this is largely for professional reasons. After all, I use YouTube to get my parenting mission message out there! Social media offers a unique opportunity to reach people you may not normally come into contact with. I would like to think I know how to use it, but do Generation Z?

The YouTube Generation

My daughter, Natyla’ is a teenager who very much feels part of the YouTube generation. There is nothing she likes more than watching YouTube influencers. These people give her advice on make-up tips, places to go and things to do. But all too often, influencers are not just simply proliferating their top tips. Many are being paid by corporate business to espouse a certain brand message. This is entirely legitimate but do teenagers truly understand this element of the influencer presence?

 

Start the Conversation

Conversations with teenagers are rarely a formal “now sit down at the table’ together.  In all honesty, it is conducive that they aren’t! So when Natyla’ decided to brush her teeth whilst I was in the shower, it came as no surprise that she initiated the dialogue on her favourite topic. She wanted to know my thoughts on protein diets. When I asked about the nature of this subject, she proceeded to tell me how an influencer she subscribes to was about to radically overhaul her lifestyle through a strict dietary routine.

How I responded

The conversation continued, and Natyla’ elaborated further. She informed me that the YouTube influencer in question had done her research on the issue. When I asked for the details and findings of this research, I was utterly taken aback by her answer.

“Why are you laughing?” she asked. “She has done a two mum research!”

Yes, you heard correctly. a TWO MUM RESEARCH! I calmly pointed out to Natyla’ that in order to conduct studies on the effects and impacts of diets, more stringent scientific rules would apply. Furthermore, there would need to be a significant cross-section of people participating in it. But had she really considered this? I’d say probably not!

How can mums help their daughter with social media awareness?

As mums what can we do when YouTube influencers claim to be experts on diets? We are living in an era where looks appear to be the most important female feature. Body Image, selfie generation, best life and filters all send a confusing message to young girls. It is really important to avoid confrontations or act outraged by what they post or who they subscribe to. Instead, start a conversation around their social media use. Be positive and ask to see their favourite posts. It’s always better to avoid criticism! Stay informed and offer safety advice or direct them to advisory websites such as The Royal Society for Public Health.

 

My Top Tips for Teen Social Media Management Success

  1. Ask your teen if you can have screen free meal times, and tell them how much you would love to chat with them instead.
  2. Take an interest in their social media content. Be positive about it, whilst pointing out some of the inherent dangers.
  3. Make a family rule (yes, mums and dads included!) to keep phones out of bedrooms at night time. If you comply then your teen is much more likely to!
  4. Keep the dialogue open about what would be inappropriate to post.
  5. Help your teen set boundaries for themselves so they can reduce their online time.
  6. Teach them not to post personal information about themselves, such as where they live.
  7. Talk about how you are reducing your own social media use and how you are utilising this time to do something more productive.
  8. Set a good example. Although sharenting has become popular, Avoid posting photos of your teen without their consent.
  9. Ensure that they know many YouTube influencers are paid to tell their subscribers how good a product is.
  10. Most of all, have fun with social media and avoid turning it into a barrier between you and your teen!

How did my Top Tips work for You?

The Most important thing to realise is that many other parents are experiencing the same issues as you. If you find these tips helpful, do let me know. I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject. By sharing all our tips we can find more clarity and consensus. Watch my tips on YouTube here and subscribe to see more parenting advice.

Fiona Small

About Fiona Small

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