These days becoming famous has become extremely easy. Talent or hard work is not absolutely necessary. All you need in fact is a mobile phone or a PC and access to a social media account. A fifteen second reel with a trending song and boom, fifteen million likes are garnered in the digital pocket. Social media has completely changed the dynamics of being famous. Social media is considered a rapidly evolving platform for youngsters to communicate. It has inevitably given impetus to a new cultural paradigm that drives the way business is done and the way technology moves ahead. Check out some of the trending YouTubers. All you need is a trending song to create the fifteen second reel tricks.
Aim at fame
The world ‘influencer’ has gained a different meaning over the past few years. Social media evolved as a platform for these influencers to gain ‘almost’ instant fame. The plethora of influencers on social media is quite diverse. The world has welcomed them with open arms. From fashion influencers to fitness freaks, everyone is trying to take aim at fame. Why not? No other platform offers access to the whole world’s attention at no cost. Let us examine this world of fame and glory and how it's impacting children today.
We had earlier written about the top 5 Youtubers in the world and covered about the creator economy.
Being famous on YouTube
In the beginning, the road to fame on the internet was through YouTube, as this platform evolved as the most popular, most accessible stage for the world to display skill or share knowledge. This platform played a significant role in changing the way people collaborate and work today. The ability to crowdsource on YouTube has increased the growth of innovations the world over. This accessibility and affordability have brought all kinds of people into the spotlight.
The Plethora of YouTubers
Teachers sharing education resources, Politicians using it to promote themselves, moms highlighting their kids’ talent and so many other performances have brought various arts/ skills and common people to the forefront. Although YouTube has been responsible for spreading awareness on important social issues, it has also been the facilitator for some potentially harmful content. Its impact on businesses has been far-reaching, changing dynamics of marketing, advertisement, and entrepreneurship. The co-founder Jawed Karim is regarded as the first YouTuber. His first video at the zoo went viral and ever since the word YouTuber has evolved to many different meanings.
Monetization changed the fame game
The monetization factor implemented in 2007, accelerated its growth as more influencers began to use the platform. One of the most popular YouTubers, who found his road to fame on this channel is PewDiePie. He became famous by uploading his gaming videos and is listed in the world’s top 100 most influential people by Time magazine. Influenced by YouTubers like PewDiePie, millions of people have taken to YouTube to display their talent, trying desperately to win the fame ticket. This craze to become famous overnight, has garnered at least fifty-one million YouTube channels in the world today and it is growing every second. YouTube has about 2.3 million subscribers as of 2020.
More and More Influencers
YouTube reigned as a digital platform for years, until Instagram was founded in 2010 and TikTok was founded in 2016. The world had more platforms to try their hand at fame. Unlike YouTube, TikTok came with a lot of effects and filters. It soon emerged as the preferred choice for making videos. TikTok too created some stars overnight. The most popular individual on this platform is Charli D’Amelio who has 136 million followers. But, in India, its reign ended in 2020 when India banned the platform over security issues.
Instagram has brought its own brand of popularity and famous people now termed as ‘influencers’ There are fitness influencers, beauty influencers to mom influencers.
How is it impacting online behavior of children around the world?
There has been an increasing number of children watching YouTube videos, TikTok videos and browsing through Instagram reels. Consequently, more children are trying to become famous by using these platforms for gaming videos like PewDiePie or to put up 15 sec Instagram reels to garner as many likes and followers as possible. The need for children to become famous overnight began with parents from all around the world uploading videos of their children doing different things. For example, the first kid YouTuber was only three, when his parents decided to upload videos of him unboxing toys, giving demos and reviews of the toys. In 2015, Ryan became the most popular kid YouTuber.
So, it happened that the term ‘viral’ no longer meant fever and the term ‘trending’ no longer referred to something fashionable. YouTube, Instagram and TikTok gave parents an easy platform to make their children famous overnight. The monetization factor has also enabled these children to earn millions just by entertaining their audiences.
The influencer marketing economy grew rapidly with many children aspiring to be vloggers or influencers. Most data firms agree that Instagram has approximately five hundred million daily active users and at least 20-80 million Instagram influencers.
With the number of kids becoming popular increasing, more parents are using social media to encourage their kids to be visible. Some moms use it as early as pregnancy, journaling their personal journey. Then, recording every noise and step the baby makes in the hope of creating content and acquiring followers. According to statistics, 61% of users on Instagram are kids while on TikTok it has 50%. Demographics show two billion active users on Instagram every month. The average amount of time spent on it per day is 29 minutes.
What is the impact of social media on kids?
There is increasing data that shows the negative impacts that social media can have on children.
Low self-esteem with increased risk of suicide.
It creates an addiction, with a constant need to check news feeds on various social media platforms. Child experts believe that features such as ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ activate the reward centre in the brain. This centre is overly sensitive during adolescence and explains why teenagers lean more towards social media than adults.
As social creatures, the value placed on connection and interaction is significant. That is why behaviour in teens is highly influenced by social media.
Youngsters who get addicted to social media spend hours browsing and watching content in their regular feed. This addiction disrupts routine activities like schoolwork, sports, study, and play.
This leads to stress and anxiety in teens when they find that they are constantly behind in their work.
Impact on mental health
Psychologists believe that children who spend more than three hours a day on social media are more likely to suffer from poor mental health. Studies show that even spending just an hour on social media can make a teen miserable. Thereby impacting social and emotional growth in a big way. Some kids even suffer from ‘Facebook depression’ when they see that the lives of their friends are better than theirs, even if they know it is idealised. Teens who are more vulnerable get more influenced than the confident ones.
Blurring between virtual and real
The distraction and ease of digital relationships impacts real-life relationships. Children grow up having awkward social skills without being able to read non-verbal cues or understand body language. Hence, too much reliance on social media relationships, impacts communication and social intelligence in a significant manner.
FOMO (Fear of missing out)
Some kids feel the pressure of having to react to every post or respond to all messages. This comes from a strong need to be in the social loop, which is the fear of missing out (FOMO). This feeling can lead to anxiety and depression. It also is a significant contributor to heavy usage of social media among teenagers.
The obsession with endless posts and selfie updates fosters narcissism among youngsters. Their moods get highly influenced by how much attention a post receives on social media. Anxiety sets in when they do not get the attention they expect. Having a page to promote individual identities creates false notions among children. The constant need to post a ‘cool’ selfie has ended in risky behaviour. Some youngsters have tried dangerous things like standing on skyscrapers or too close to wild animals just to get a trending picture.
This happens when children are so tuned into superficial stimuli from social media that they begin to lose the ability to engage in a meaningful manner with others. They tend to miss real-life experiences while trying to maintain a perfect image for social media.
Check our blog on: How Learner Circle helps kids improve their attention?
Being easy target for cyber bullying and cyber crime
Bullying can either be in the form of threatening messages or subtle posts with offensive content targeted at a particular person. Sometimes, younger kids become targets of predatory behaviour with intent to harm.
Easy access to offensive content
The availability and accessibility to offensive content has a strong impact on young minds. Therefore, it is important to ensure some parental control is in place when children are using the web for other purposes. The constant pop-up of ads also disrupts concentration on other important tasks that a child is trying to focus on.
What can parents do?
Parents can create more real-life experiences and opportunities for kids to step out and play. Researching and noting down avenues of engagement for kids will entice them to step out and try something new.
Identify activity workshops
When you know what could interest your child, it would be easy to identify good schools/institutions that offer interesting workshops or courses that encourage children to pursue their passion.
Related: Benefits of experiential learning
Try to supervise their online activity and counsel them of dangers they could face online.
Watch your child’s emotions when online or after browsing/chatting. Talk to them about it to see if there are emotional triggers that are upsetting them.
Try to relate to them
Join the social networking sites that they use to gain knowledge on how it works.
Make a list of other social media sites that they can use constructively to enhance learning or to collaborate with others who have similar interests. Or engage them in outdoor activities. Learner Circle has launched experiential learning for kids and adults. This initiative is to get the family away from screen time to green time.
The most sensible solution for protecting kids from the harmful effects of social media is to keep them constructively engaged with a passion or a hobby. Learner Circle offers cognitive intervention solutions in the form of online courses. We offer a wide range of courses for all learner types. Keeping a child productively engaged will ease the stress of parenting. Our courses like art, music, singing, dance , coding and sketching focus on cognitive skills and overall development of the child. Our teachers are experienced and qualified. More details are available on our website.
Easiest way to have a discussion with us would be to book a free demo class.