Your teenager just announced they don’t need school anymore; they want to become an influencer — parenting has new challenges since the rise of technology.
According to one study, 98 percent of middle school and high school student would like to be a social media influencer, but is this realistic? How to we convince our young people that being an influencer could be a nice future, however, education is key to all opportunities in life.
Generations earlier, many young people dreamed of being the next big model or actor, and parents had to help them focus on staying the course since they knew for everyone that goes to Hollywood or New York with their dreams, maybe a handful will become famous. Becoming an influencer feels remarkably similar.
It may seem glamorous to teens to be an online celebrity, but there are risks — especially if a young person is struggling with low self-worth, depression, or other mental health concerns. The internet has a range of digital dangers, and there is no shortage of online haters.
It is important that teens understand that these followers they will acquire are just that — followers, not real friends. Sometimes lonely teens or teens that are having difficulties fitting in find that safe space in the digital world.
This can be a positive thing, but it’s imperative they understand that people can be just as mean (or meaner) online than they are offline. Real friends and family cannot be replaced and should not be neglected in favor of a digital life.
Since your teen seems determined to go in this direction, it is time to chat with them about why education is part of being an influencer.
3 Talking Points About Becoming an Influencer to Your Teen
It’s important not to discourage them as much as share with them how an education plays a role in reaching their goals. As most parents know, the minute you shut down an idea with your teenager, the more likely they will pursue it.
1. Education is key to becoming a better influencer. Like in most careers, knowledge is power! Talk to your teenager about the importance of being an educated influencer, not only on your brand and topic, but in life. You will be more respected and likely gain more followers and more engagement. People will know you have a level of intelligence.
2. Take courses in branding, marketing, business, or graphic arts. If you can start in high school or when you start applying to colleges, find the courses that will enhance your goals and dreams. You may even want to consider film editing or creative writing. This will teach you to create influential content that drives more people to your platform.
3. Being authentic to themselves. In a world that is full of peer pressure from every direction; school, neighborhoods, and now their digital worlds — young people (especially teenagers) feel the need to be someone other than who they truly are. An important lesson about the internet and social media is that most of it is not real. So many people will post what they want you to believe, rather than reality. Talk to your teen about being true to themselves, authenticity speaks volumes.
Some food for thought, parents should have conversations with their teens to help them be aware that they are being marketed to through influencers — they make it seem like it’s totally normal for teens to be shopping all day long. Most kids spend the majority of their time — online scrolling.
Maybe rather than the particulars of a creator’s career, what teenagers long for is: excitement, beauty, and a life without chores or homework, where the world is made up only of parties and vacations? After all, who doesn’t?
Are you struggling with your teen that is refusing to go to school? Addicted to their cell phone or screen? Contact us for a free consultation to learn how a therapeutic boarding school can help your teenager.