I’m an old soul, everybody I’m close to knows it. I’m 21 but I’m not an avid drinker or partier. I’m much more focused on, and interested in, my career than getting drunk all the while which is the stereotype typically inflicted on my generation. I’d self-claim that I’m old beyond my years. If not only for the reasons listed just then, but also for the fact that I’m a big lover of traditional values. I’m trying hard to not be stereotypical, but there’s no better way to describe it than myself and my Nan probably share the same views on social media to an extent.
Well, I suppose that’s not entirely true. I see the immense value in social media and believe it’s fundamental for most brands to have an online presence across the likes of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the rest of ‘um. Whereas my Nan would probably dismiss these channels as a ‘fad’ and discredit their value totally. That being said though, I think if we were to sit down and talk about the way that social media is used, we’d be on the same wavelength.
What’s Wrong With The World?
Call me old-fashioned, but seeing young people on social media really grinds my gears. I know we live in a different generation now, but I’m a firm believer that when you’re 12 years old you should be outside, playing with your friends. Not posing for Instagram and obsessing over likes. You should be knocking on the doors of your friends to talk with them, not sending them a Whatsapp or posting on their Facebook wall.
My parents kept me pretty well sheltered from social media. I wasn’t on Facebook until I was about 15 (which seems young to me, but is probably ancient to now-teenagers) and Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat came much later. And even then, my parents tried to restrict me to 30 minutes of computer time a day. They were much bigger advocates of me getting fresh air and creating childhood memories the way they should be created.
I guess this is where my ‘oldie’ values have come from. I truly believe that despite living in a technologically-reliant world, we should still be sheltering our children from the harsh realities of the web. Last year, it was estimated that 70% of UK kids aged 12-15 were on social media, joined by 20% of 8-11 year olds and 5% of 5-7 year olds. Interestingly, in the same year, it was found that 36% of girls said they’ve been cyberbullied, and 26% of boys said the same. In the same study, a staggering 69% of children admitted they’d said something hurtful to another online. And if that doesn’t scare you, I don’t know what will.
Why I Don’t Think Children Should Be On Social Media
My brother would probably call me uncool for saying it, but I genuinely believe we should be sheltering our children from social media exposure for as long as possible. And even then, we should have some control over what they’re doing online. There’s several reasons as to why I believe this is so, and they include:
- Social media can be detrimental to young people’s development and mental health. There’s nothing to prove it on paper, but I can bet that a lot of children feel inadequate if they don’t receive enough likes on Instagram, or comments on Facebook. This is where serious self-confidence issues can arise from.
- It’s also an open playing field for cyberbullying. It’s never been easier to make hurtful comments online, and trolls are out in the masses. Online bullying is a really prevalent problem, and the direct and devastating effect it can have on children has begun to make itself known.
- You never know who’s out there online, and the possibility of grooming and catfishing is completely plausible. This is where social media companies can play a part in properly vetting their users and monitor who’s using their services.
There’s no real age you can put on maturity, but every parent knows their own kids. If they seem old enough to be able to hand social media and the danger it imposes, then that’s down to personal discretion. However that being said, social media companies can too be doing more to protect children and the way they use the platforms also.
This is where Instagram receive a world of praise from me.
Instagram Are Rolling Out ‘Like Hiding’ – And I’m Here For It
Paving the way for social media companies to follow in their footsteps, Instagram has recognised a problem and have promised to actively tackle it. Recently, they announced that they’ll “test hiding like count from audiences“, wanting their uses to “focus on what you share, not how many likes your post get.”
The revelation has understandably received mixed feedback. But I’m all for it.
This is one step in the right direction to protecting our kids online. It’ll stop them focusing on how many ‘likes’ their photos get, and hopefully encourage them to not feel disheartened or insufficient if their posts don’t perform so well. There’s so much work to be done in solving the social media issue concerning children using the platform, but at least Instagram are making some headway at least.
But What Will This Do To The Influencers?
And this isn’t the only reason I’m rejoicing in Instagram’s latest announcement. There’s another discussion to be had too – concerning Influencer Marketing. I’m planning on exploring this a little more in a separate post, (and I’ll hopefully deploy the help of Orlagh Shanks and Scott Guthrie, who I always turn to for Influencer Marketing insights) but for now let me say that I think this new Instagram feature will benefit the Influencer Marketing industry also. Mainly for the executives who manage campaigns and the brands who choose to deploy this kind of marketing for their product and service promotion, that is.
We’ve become a little too-obsessed with likes and insights. But that’s not what influencer marketing should be about. It’s not how many people double tap your photo, it’s the number of people who engage with it and who are – you guessed it – influenced by it. This means that influencers will have a harder time proving their impact, but once they can – you’ll be left with the ones that can truly add value to your campaigns. And not only this, but I believe if Instagram do roll out their proposed update, Influencer Marketing will become less about hitting ‘send’ on a pre-written post (which actually happens, as I recently found out from an Influencer Marketing Executive), and more about creating content that will be truly impactful to their devoted audiences.
All in all, I can’t see how these changes will damage the Influencer Marketing industry. If you ask me, I can only find ways in which the update can strengthen it. But what do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts on Instagram’s new alleged feature, and how you think it will effect invested parties. Let me know in the comments below what you think, or send me a tweet.
Featured image credit: Search Engine Journal.