Experiences and impact of the Vlogger Culture on your kids?

social-media
influencer-marketing
vlogging

#1

I have no kids myself, and I may have become old-fashioned in some of my opinions, relating too much to the ‘ways of old’. But what I have noticed is, that:

  • YouTube channels and other vlogging platforms have become hugely influential on our youth
  • To become an influential vlogger is now the ultimate dream of many, many children
  • The image of fun, fame and fortune is being nurtured and fed to great extent by marketeers
  • Affiliate, peer-to-peer and influencer marketing target your kids like never before in history
  • The content being offered on vlogs is mostly superficial, uncontrolled, and full of sneaky hidden marketing tricks

The vlogger culture has upsides as well - there is good content out there - but IMHO most of the culture is driven by marketing with the aim of creating brand awareness, setting the appropriate trends and turn followers into mindless consumers.

When you ask children what they want to be as adults, you hear less and less “nurse”, “doctor”, “pilot”, etc. Being a star, and famous is still very much a thing. But it is a famous vlogger or social media influencer that is all the rage.

The media is also involved in creating this trend, by highlighting mostly the success stories. Like this story on the BBC website today:

The article is purely focused on the monetary and ‘success’ aspects, and even contains an influencer ranking:

The monetary incentives lead to many parents approving of their kids’ desire to start their own YouTube channel, and they do not think of the downsides enough. The accompanying Hacker News discussion shows that a lot of people that don’t see any harm, but luckily there are also some opposite opinions. I commend you to read through some of the comments.

To me it seems that - if you allow your kid to be a vlogger - you should be really careful, because not only would you be exposing them to the full spectrum of tech harms (smartphone / social media addiction, sleep/health problems, development of essential social skills, etc.), but they have the added responsibility to be a professional performer. There is huge social pressure on the shoulders of the influencers… a thing that is often forgotten about.

What are your experiences with this subject? Do you agree, or am I indeed old-fashioned?


#2

@aschrijver Not that my actual opinion matters, but I agree this movement is concerning.

Our public school district is pushing this “flavor” of tech education by doing short snippet videos on topics starting in 3rd grade. The good part is the teacher isn’t calling it vlogging…, So the school isn’t doing its part in educating the kids on how the screen can draw you into a vortex. It’s part of google classroom education, which tends to be a menagerie of show and tell of technology without any focus what to do with all these tools.

Anyways… it was said in our community in the last 6 months (which is always Jonsing newest latest and greatest app or phone feature) that kids won’t have to write at all in the future- that it’s all about video communications with FaceTime and vlogging.

I feel an era of contemplation and development of thought going away right before our eyes.

Its disappointing the education system doesn’t see this as harmful activity too. My daughter’s teacher actually posts YouTube videos on her website without explaining the vortex experience.

It’s almost like tech education should be like the drugs education of the 80’s.


#3

The privacy issues with You Tube and Google have been exposed by the Campaign For a Commercial Free Childhood by filing a complaint with the CCFC this past April.

Here is a copy of the complaint- we can refer to for structure when advocating for kids in the classroom. Kids shouldn’t be loosing their childhood to big tech companies… @aschrijver you are not being old fashioned, it is a child’s civil right to develop naturally with a sense of reality. Kids are vulnerable, they don’t have the cognitive make up to stand up fir what is right. We’re seeing this with the 20 something crowd with social media- they are thinking what we’re my parents thinking handing me the loose cannon (a phone).


#4

I have kids myself and I can confirm this all to be true. They are constantly watching and creating videos on TocToc, following teenage YT’ers, local influencers are having gatherings and being promoted as stars, other kids want to go to see them, take selfie etc. They ask me to create a channel for them but I’m not allowing it for now until they become more aware of all the things you mentioned. I try to constantly educate them abut it and that’s the key. You don’t want to take the tech away from them and the experience. Things are not all bad, and it’s less relevant actually. What’s most important is how we react to either positive or negative, it’s about how we teach our kids to understand the content they consume.


#5

my son is in second grade and i am thoroughly dismayed by how they’re layin’ on the tech in the classroom now. on the first day of school, his teacher showed them a f*&*ing Coca Cola ad! streamed it off YouTube, because it was a cartoon with a nice message.

the teachers are clueless. no media/tech literacy. how can they help our kids with it?


#6

@magdalen I educate my child at home and since we have no media exposure except for TV - my daughter can see how some things they teach are ridiculous. I’m careful about saying certain things are not good at all like building cities in school on a screen… Really - we need to spend more time on long division - not educational video games. If there was a goal involved it would be education - it seems like Edtech is teaching kids there is something out there that could help them function, but not create anything for themselves to accomplish. I wish I could be more positive.


#7

well, healthyswimmer, what shall we do? seriously. how do we take this issue on?

homeschooling is not the answer. the bulk of Americans lack the education, financial stability, and time to educate their own children. i could do it, you can do it, most can’t. how do we reach out past our immediate concerns and change things for all?


#8

@magdalen we must go to school board meetings and state our opinions. You see- parents are part of the problem here too. Parents fought and fought to have technology in the schools- so here we are today. We have to think of this as a group- that the education system is frustrated with parents trying to micromanage their profession. So we have to have respect for what has been done and protect our children’s development. If your child is having problems with posture or handwriting then say something… you have to start small and think big. Also- Involving yourself in the schools in whatever way you can- so you can be a credible leader is important too. If you are there serving hot lunch and cleaning food off the floor- chances are the school will respect you in other ways.

This problem will not be solved today- or tomorrow. We have to build bridges and inform and pray the right things are done- doing nothing is not an option though.


#9

I suggest getting the best article you can find about harms of YouTube and show the teacher- wait a week to see the response. If you don’t get an appropriate concerned response to problem solve- ask what guiding standard drives the use of YouTube. Or write a general anonymous letter to the principle- saying you appreciate “…” but are concerned about the tools used to teach for this reason”…”.

Remember when you bring up issues to a school you have to give them a way out. The goal is to fix things not be right. Schools will often not change things in front of you fir fear of litigation or loss of authority. Help them “save face”- a really great way to get the right thing done while making them look good. A bit humbling but the goals are met.


#10

The following article demonstrates the Wild Wild West advertising culture of YouTube influencers towards kids (or any person for that matter):

There is a nice Hacker News discussion on the article too: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18824147


#11

So, the impact of vlogger culture is eminent. It is difficult for anyone online to distinguish between marketing and true content. Teachers are not an exception. I attend a public school, and sometime free, online resources are the only way to engage students or find resources. School districts often do not provide adequate technology training to their teachers (though that does not remove the need for common sense discretion). The immersion of marketing and content, as well as the blurred lines they generate are problematic for everyone.

The best, most reliable way to generate change is to start by educating your children (as I am sure many of you know). You may not be able to filter what they see online or in the classroom, but explaining how to view and interpret that information is critical. That is where the battle needs to be focused. In my experience, schools and administration are slow to react on issues like this anyway. We can go after the individuals who target children with marketing, but the most impactful way to reverse this vlogger culture is to make them more critical of the content they consume online.


#12

@Siddhi I agree with you with the frustration that there is a culture of impatience that happens when everything is handed over on a dopamine surging device in school… you wind up with an out of control classroom- and kids that literally have a tantrum without a device- yes third grade!! Also- kids totally lose the ability to appreciate nature somehow.

It is scary how my child goes to school focused and comes home distracted. Kids don’t play games at recess from beginning to end anymore…

I just don’t see how technology and education mix together. The more and more time marches on it is more clear kids should not be learning this way. I’ll add the children’s reactions I list here are actually real- I observed and watched for the past years in her school.


#13

Youtube is total trash, I may have to boycott the site now. I want to let educators know google has gone too far…that YouTube gambling site deserves its own post what do you think? It may not be seen buried in this post.