Social Media Influencers and the vulnerability of youth to such influence

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Social Media Influencers and the vulnerability of youth to such influence

Social media influencers (Beauty bloggers, video game vloggers, toy unboxers, instafamous) are extremely popular among minors. Influencers seem to play an important role in minors' lives, first, because minors spend a large part of their time watching, viewing, liking, forwarding, and commenting on influencers' content. As such, the level of involvement with influencer content seems high. Second, minors turn to these influencers not only for entertainment, but also for information, advice, company and comfort. However, scientifically-grounded insights on the role of social media influencers in the lives of children and adolescents are still scarce. Specifically, at least four key themes for research are identified. First, influencers are assumed to be so appealing because they are similar to their audiences. They are often perceived as 'the boy or girl next door' with whom identification is easy. However, there are probably more reasons for the attraction of influencers. The impact of social media influencers on minors may have both desirable and undesirable consequences. Influencers may inspire minors to behave pro-socially or more healthy, but they may also show bad examples of smoking, drinking, or even criminal behavior. In addition, influencer content may also affect minors' psychological well-being, materialism, body satisfaction. Some social media influencers are minors themselves. With major brands signing up for paid partnerships, a growing number of child and adolescent influencers and their parents are striving to make a profit, which leads to important legal, ethical and philosophical questions.
 

Staying “online” on the internet has lately transformed into a constant state of being with no possibility of an escape. Information which was earlier obtained through discovering and pursuing one's surroundings has been reduced to a mere electronic device. The Internet is a network where access has become easier providing abundant information with much to offer to mankind. It has manifested itself into emerging as a new way of life and transforming how humans look at the world. Social media is a product of this booming online generation. Each logging into their social media account possesses the ability to utilize the wide access that it provides and communicate their thoughts, ideas as well as have insight into cultures from far and beyond. A lot of times, it helps young individuals to develop their understanding of the world and move beyond the constrictions of society and their surroundings in general. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have served to be platforms for people to conduct communications and provide what some might say a possibility of the creation of a small global village. 

Following Social media influencers often lead to a life of comparison. Young girls and boys of impressionable ages have access to such content, look at it, admire it to the point of idolising it and therefore form a construct of what constitutes the “appropriate” or the “accepted” form of lifestyle. The life of their favorite influencers is a lot different than what it is portrayed- they too have their struggles, weaknesses and days when they do not look their best but their social media is structured in a way to portray only the brighter side. The problem begins when there is a failure to recognize this truth and teenagers start comparing the highlights and the ‘picture perfect’ moment of such people to their everyday life which might not seem as glamorous in comparison.

 

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