A study has shown that one in five children want to be social media influencers when they grow up.
In a world where social media influencers are being scrutinised for holidaying in Dubai during a national lockdown, what kind of impact are they having on children?
London businessman and ex-contestant on BBC’s The Apprentice, Tom Skinner says that influencers are promoting a life that many people cannot afford.
In a time of financial sensitivity for many families, he explained that his friend, who has lost work due to the pandemic, was feeling more strain after his teenage son had seen a pair of luxury trainers on Instagram, worth £450.
Skinner said: “The kids should be looking up to people who work hard – the doctors, the nurses, the teachers. People who go to work for a living and earn it the right way, the straight way.
“The role models of today have been turned on their head.
“People are looking up to someone who is being gifted things for a living instead of looking up to someone who has worked hard for a living.”
Ames Banks, an influencer living in south west London, explained that she’s cautious of what content she produces, as she knows that young people can easily see what she posts.
She said: “I really try to never Facetune my skin or alter how my body looks because even if my audience is not 16-years-old, these 16-year-olds can come across my profile very very easily.
“I don’t ever want them to look at my face all smoothed out and think that’s normality.
“When it comes to reality stars I think they have such a huge platform, so many young people watching their programmes and I think they need to take responsibility for that and not put out something that’s so unrealistic.”
London-based Joe Reddington runs charity E-Quality Time, which has just received £40,000 of funding to entice social media influencers into being supply teachers.
This idea stemmed from his three-year-old-daughter listening to her favourite YouTuber more than him.
He said: “She is very influenceable, and that has informed her Christmas list and her pronunciation of certain words.
“I think there is a responsibility of parents to have a look at the sort of consumption that your children are going through.
“It’s also important to show them how to assess things online, to listen to one person about how to make a soufflé but not Covid precautions.”