However, many creators are not aware of the (long-term) consequences of (child) influencer activities. For example, they give little thought to how children in the future will look back on how they are portrayed on social media today.
That makes sense, because today’s parents are the very first generation to capture their children’s stories on social media. It is therefore difficult to estimate the long-term consequences. Moreover, information about the impact of creator activities is often fragmented, not easily accessible, contradictory, and unclear. Moreover, legislation about kidfluencers and influencer marketing is not (yet) fully adapted to the social media reality. There is a lot going on: various legislative initiatives have been launched. But that evolution is of course not closely followed by influencers.
So let’s go through some important questions regarding kidfluencing.
My child is in a lot of commercial content I post online. What are theconsequences?
As a creator, you and your child influence (the parents of) other children.Children and parents look up to you (and your child) and are therefore very influenced by your recommendations. That way, you can easily control their purchasing behavior and attitudes. Some advertisers ask that you also feature your child on those posts. After all, that produces cute images that arouse emotions and people are often more likely to share this type of content.
So what are the consequences. Research has proven that 90% of the food products popular kidfluencers promote in their videos are unhealthy items. This is alarming, because children are very impressionable by advertising from kidfluencers. In this way, the promotion of unhealthy food by kidfluencers contributes to the problem of overweight andobesity.
So take in consideration the impact your post will make when you’re offered to promote the newest candy bar. Maybe there are some healthier alternativ eoptions or healthy snack brands that still match your niche who’d love to collaborate with you as well.
What benefit does your child gain from a post that portrays them?
As a parenty ou’re often the decision maker, including online decisions. So when it comes to the benefits your child gains from being portrayed in your social posts, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is your decision in the best interest of your child?
- Can you push your own ambitions into the background?
- Do you make a good distinction between your own desires and those of your child?
- What would your child think if friends saw the image?
- Would you show the post to a stranger on the streets?
As a creator you share a lot of your daily life online for the world to see. But we sometimes forget about the idea who’s actually seeing our content. Especially when it comes to sharing content about children. Think for example about the future. What kind of impact can the content you share today have on them in a couple of years? Everyone can download or screenshot the content you post now and keep on sharing it, even after you’ve removed it.
So talk about it with your children! Does your child enjoy being in your pictures? Or does he or she would like to do something else instead? Maybe your limiting their free time to much creating content without acknowledging it.
Children have rights themselves. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child regards children as full-fledged individuals with their own rights and responsibilities. So their voice does count and their well-being should comefirst in every decision you make as a parent.
Two articles within the Convention on the Rights of the Child are important:
- Article 3states that the best interests of the child must always come first.
- Article 12says that the child has the right to be heard and to be taken seriously.
As a parentyou are legally responsible for your child. So you can make independent decisions about your child's actions. Nevertheless, it is important to consider the opinion and wishes of your child whenever you want to share content of them online.
What impact do negative comments have on my child?
Pictures depicting children often get a lot of positive comments and likes. This confirmation can make you feel good and can fulfill the need for socia lrelationships: with yourself and with your child. Unfortunately, there is also a downside to social media success, in the form of negative reactions. For example, that influencer posts can trigger jealous and envious reactions among followers because their lives often seem less good than that of the influencer. This is called "negative socialcomparison".
Often you get more positive than negative reactions. However, the negative ones will leave a bigger impact on you. How did that happen? Scientists call this misconception the negativity bias. Negative messages attract more attention and make you think more than positive messages. Consequently, they have a greater impact on your mental well-being.
A child may give much more importance to two negative comments on social media than to a hundred positive ones. Children are often still very much trying to find their way in the world. Negative online reactions can be very hard on them mentally and completely lower their self-image. For example, your child can become a victim of hate reactions, cyberbullying or even end up in a media storm. For example, research with kidfluencers shows that the majority of them have already experienced negative reactions, both online and offline. Cyber bullying also turned out to be a common phenomenon.
The ever changing and developing digital era we’re now living in comes with a lot of great opportunities. However, we must not forget the impact it can have on ourselves and our family at this very moment and in the future.
The rise of influencer marketing has given creators and brands wonderful chances to collaborate, create and grow together. But we should think more carefully about the consequences an innocent post of your child can have later on. This way we can protect our children better and give more thought to the products and service to promote and who we influence it with.
Picture by Kim
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