Media Update’s Taylor Goodman examines the ethics behind kid fluencers and guidelines for marketing to children in an ethical manner.
First things first, kidfluencer marketing is when kids under the age of 16 become brand influencers. As these children are below the legal working age, most are administered by their parents or guardians.
There is much debate about the ethics of relying on children as a marketing tool and how to market these teenagers fairly.
With that in mind, let’s take a deeper look at the ethics of kidfluencer marketing:
Is it ethically correct to even be a kid fluencer?
Imagine this: your four year old daughter is watching a YouTube video in which a child is unpacking the latest Barbie doll. After seeing this, she’ll nag you for days to get the doll and you’ll eventually crumble. This affects the children.
There is a lot of controversy surrounding kidfluencers and whether it’s parents who encourage their kids to dip their toes into entrepreneurship or whether it’s exploitative.
Often the lines of the child’s interest in children’s phenomena and the parents’ desire to bring them into the public eye are the cause of controversy surrounding this industry. This is coupled with the risks associated with a lack of labor laws to prevent exploitation.
It’s important to note that many kidfluencers are managed by their parents or talent agencies because they’re too young to even have social media accounts. You cannot even open an account on Youtube and Instagram if you are under the age of 13.
This means that the kid in question doesn’t have much to say on their social media or the products they recommend. Knowing this, one has to ask: How ethical is it to introduce such an impressive audience to products that you know little or nothing about?
Second, the question arises whether these children even want to take on the role of kid fluencers. Yes, it could be a fun hobby for the kid, but at the same time it can also put them under constant pressure to produce content.
It’s hard to predict if a kidfluencer will negatively affect these kids as they grow up as this is still a relatively new marketing strategy and we haven’t had a chance to see popular kidfluencers grow into adults. However, we can compare kidfluencers to the phenomenon of child stars.
What can be drawn from the culture of child celebrities is that they often become very problematic adults who are haunted by addiction.
Karen North, PhD, director of a digital social media program at USC on the difference between kid fluencers and child actors, believes, “The difference between traditional child actors and social media influencers is that it’s not a child who pretends to be someone for a show to be. Instead, the show is the kid. Where is that sending your life? We do not know yet. “
Finally, it is important that parents considering influencing their children’s children understand the persistence of online content.
When your child grows up, it can be difficult to separate from their childhood image. This can lead to identity problems or pressures on the person to maintain a brand that they may have outgrown.
Is it ethical to use kidfluencers in your marketing?
It’s not all bad. From a marketing perspective, using kid fluencers to promote your brand is an effective way to reach younger audiences and their parents. After all, children are also consumers.
The key to marketing to children is getting brands to realize that it has an impact on young minds. They should aim to create a real connection with the children they are promoting, all in one responsible and ethically Path.
Businesses can achieve this by making sure that their marketing messages inspire and empower the children they are targeting. Barbie is a shining example of this.
As the brand celebrated its 60th birthday, it launched dolls that represent women in careers where they are not widely represented, such as firefighters, politicians, and astronauts. This was done to promote the new dolls and the “Be Anything” tour was launched in 34 cities.
At each stop on the tour, the brand hosted a meet-and-greet with various local role models and ran a Barbie dress-up booth where children could learn about different career paths. In addition, the children in attendance had the chance to win $ 20,000 to help build their future.
Another positive feature of using kidfluencers on social platforms is that while these videos contain sponsored news or products, they can be educational to children who watch them.
Skyword writer Taylor Holland says she believes Youtube “helped the expansion [her] Children’s vocabulary, love of music and even their imagination ”.
One of the biggest downsides to bombarding kids with marketing messages at such an impressive age is that they might maintain a materialistic attitude within them in the future.
Selling children a commercialized view of life can lead to anxiety and depression.
Jean Kilbourne, author and social theorist, goes on to explain that children exposed to marketing messages “can create a lot of anxiety and depression in children, to feel like everything is for sale, it’s all about what you buy and what you buy defines who you are … consumerism leaves our children disappointed. “
Ryan Kaji, one of the biggest kid fluencers in the world, has 28.5 million subscribers on YouTube. He also publishes videos on the platform on a daily basis, 90% of which have at least one sponsored product recommendation.
Truth in Advertising finds this problematic because preschoolers, also known as Ryan’s audience, cannot distinguish between organic content and advertising.
The vulnerability of children doesn’t stop there.
As internet users, we all accept the fact that companies can “collect and monetize” our online data. But children are not aware that this is even happening. If these children don’t know how the data exchange works, they cannot agree to it.
With that in mind, it becomes difficult because kids have the right to access information online – but how can we keep them safe from harmful content without censoring their browsing experience?
The UK Child Protection Department explains that to keep children safe online, “it is important to have clear boundaries in the exchange of information to ensure confidentiality where appropriate”.
In this sense, children also have the right to information and freedom of expression. Some measures to protect children online, such as: B. Parent blocks can prevent children from accessing useful resources.
The United Nations International Children’s Fund declares that children must be able to use the Internet “without overly restrictive filters” and “without disproportionate government and parent supervision”.
What do you think about kidfluencer? Is It Ethical Or Not? Let us know in the comments below.
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Would you like to learn more about kidfluencers and how they work? Then be sure to read our article What Are Kidfluencers And Why Are They So Popular?
* Courtesy of Vecteezy
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