Thursday, 26 September 2019

When I grow up I want to be...

Well, well. Word reaches Charlie Towers that LEGO has conducted a survey and found that children these days are three times more likely to want to be a YouTuber (29%) when they grow up than, say,  an Astronaut (11%).



Influ-What?

The OED define 'influencer' as “a person or thing that influences another.” And it has a clarification as a marketing term: “A person with the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service by promoting or recommending the items on social media.”

But kids see influencers as someone who is having fun and is showing that for others to see. Channels might differ: Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, blogs or personal websites. But the idea remains the same: to do interesting activities and tell about them later.

The Harris Polls surveyed 3000 kids and asked them what they would like to be when they grow up. The results show that children are three times more likely to aspire to be a YouTuber (29%) than an Astronaut (11%).

As for an astronaut, kids understand that there’s a long road until they can hit the space. The unique part about being a YouTube creator is that you don’t really need to grow up for that. It is possible to kickstart a YouTubers career, with an idea and a smartphone only. When social media platforms are so accessible, parents often consider should they prevent, promote, or ignore kids' activity on it.


  • First Of All: Screens Are Not So Bad


Most parents control children's screen time. And it’s one of the first concerns towards influencers wannabes. Content (videos, pictures, blogs) are made, edited, and uploaded via screens. And all that process can add up to quite some time. But as the latest study shows, you shouldn’t worry about that.

Back in February Oxford University published a study about the associations between well-being and digital technology. And results show that screens have close to no effect on kids' psychological health. It is still a good idea to remain caring for screen time. But it shouldn’t be the reason to discourage your children from their online aspirations.


  • Influencers Gonna Influence


Kids often imagine that an influencer must be a vlogger. But as a parent, you can guide your children to different paths. Since online media is just a platform, there is no content rulebook for what could or couldn’t be done.

If you think that your kids shouldn’t put aside the science, you can encourage them to create science experiments’ content. Or if you know that your children have spectacular imagination, recommend them to write a Sci-Fi blog. If your kids want to be YouTubers, but you don’t like the idea of them being visible in the videos, you can suggest making stop-motion animation with LEGO or modeling clay. Opportunities are endless.


  • Fun And Games Can Bring Valuable Skills


It’s possible that this influencer thing is just a phase for your children. But if you turn your kids' energy the right way, it can help them to develop valuable skills. For example, when writing a blog, children work on their creativity, spelling, and punctuation. Or if you encourage your kids to create their own blogs’ website, they start to learn web development. Hosting for a website costs less than a dollar per month, but the lessons it can bring are priceless.

Arnas Stuopelis, Chairman of the Board of hosting provider Hostinger, says: “Creating a website can be both fun and enriching activity for a kid. Children are extremely receptive these days. They can take-up new skills easily. Creating a website seems like a game for them, but one day it might turn into a career path.”

Even if influencers' aspiration sounds strange to you, it can bring opportunities for your kids to learn and grow. You shouldn’t be afraid of something you don’t understand at first. Instead, talk to your kids about what kind of influencers they like. Get to know what exactly they would like to do online. And suggest a path that could help them play and improve at the same time.


And to think, when I was young I aspired to be a dustman!

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