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?