Have you ever gone on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, or YouTube to figure out how to do something? I do it all the time. There is literally a rule, template, course, book, tutorial for everything. Want to learn how to build a blog? There’s a course for that. Can’t get your eyeliner just right? Just head over to YouTube or TikTok and you’ll find plenty of tutorials. Feeling frustrated with the lack of results on your social media? Don’t worry there’s a social media guru with the best methods on every platform. Want to up your style game? Well, we all know that there are plenty of influencers around to tell you what you need to buy.
To an extent, having this much knowledge at our fingertips is wonderful! But, is it as good as we think it is? The problem is every headline claims to be “the only tutorial you’ll ever need”, or “if you’re doing ____ like this, then your doing it wrong” then it gives the impression that the person writing the post or doing the video is an expert. As an adult, we know that’s not true. We know that anyone can post whatever they want online and it’s just a catchy headline to grab our attention. But, kids are impressionable. And, they don’t always understand that they’re being sold to. Go ahead try telling your kid or teenager that their favorite YouTuber or TikTok account is flat out wrong! I’ll wait while you do this…
How’d that go? I bet they just blew you off. Mine do this to me already. It’s really annoying! The real problem is I don’t know how to fix this. Some people would say limit screen time or take the screens away. But, is that really the right thing to do? Our world is becoming more digital/virtual, so simply taking away the screen isn’t necessarily the solution. I believe that it is crucial for them to learn how to utilize tech and a lot of good can come from gaming and playing around with YouTube (I don’t allow my kids on TikTok, Facebook, or Instagram). Having said that, I also realize that at some point there is no avoiding social media. I know, I can put parental restrictions on their devices, but even my 9 year old knows how to change those.
The thing is when I was growing up it was big companies telling you what you should buy, now it’s influencers. I think that is actually more, for a lack of a better word, influential. Influencers are selling the products better because everyone wants to be them so of course you’re willing to buy whatever they say is their new obsession. If a store is telling you need this, you know it’s a sales pitch. When an influencer says it people forget it’s a sales pitch.
I’m not saying sales pitches are bad. Sales pitches are a crucial part of business. However, it’s important for kids and teenagers in particular to realize that they’re being sold to. End of rant.