What Is a “Kidfluencer”?
A “kidfluencer,” as you might guess, is a child social media influencer. Although the kinds of content they post (such as unboxing toys) and the products they promote are designed to appeal to other children, kidfluencers and teen influencers work to build a social media following in much the same way as adult influencers do.
Why Kids Become Influencers
The prospect of internet stardom and free products can be a strong motivator for children interested in becoming influencers. Some parents may consider allowing their child or teen to court social media fame because of its potential to offer the following:
Enough money to help send their child to college or help with major family expenses
More opportunities for jobs, acceptance into college, free travel, and other social and material benefits
A dynamic way to preserve memories of their children growing up
A popularity boost for parents who are already influencers themselves, or the chance to enjoy vicarious success through their children in general
The Dangers of “Kidfluencing”
Yet parents should think carefully before allowing their children to become influencers, as this lifestyle can come with some significant risks:
Lack of legal protection. In the US, the labor and privacy laws that protect children in the entertainment industry don’t currently include internet content. This leaves kids vulnerable to their own or their parents’ mishandling of their earnings as well as corporate sponsor exploitation.
Potentially disrupted or truncated education. The time and energy required to post new material regularly can detract from kids’ and teens’ education. It can cause everything from excessive absences to poor academic performance to dropping out of school entirely.
Poor mental health. Childhood should be the most carefree time in anyone’s life. However, the constant need to cultivate social media stardom—as well as related privacy concerns and pressure from corporate sponsors—can lead to anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, an unhealthy body image, substance abuse, and more.
Teach Kids Safe Tech Use With Net Positive
The mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Utah County is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens and leaders. We accomplish this by providing evidence-based programs with a focus on those that improve academic engagement, build character, and improve healthy behaviors.
Our Net Positive Program educates K-12 students about digital safety, health, citizenship, and leadership. After participating in our program, students are 97% better prepared to face internet dangers. Contact us to learn more and ask your school to schedule a Net Positive Presentation, or support us with your donation today!
Cordeiro, Vanessa Cezarita. “‘Kidfluencers’ and Social Media: The Evolution of Child Exploitation in the Digital Age.” Humanium, 23 Feb. 2021, https://www.humanium.org/en/kidfluencers-and-social-media-the-evolution-of-child-exploitation-in-the-digital-age/.
Maheshwari, Sapna. “Online and Making Thousands, at Age 4: Meet the Kidfluencers.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 1 Mar. 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/01/business/media/social-media-influencers-kids.html.