#Influencer – Exploring how Influencer Culture can Impact a Young Person’s Wellbeing

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  4. #Influencer – Exploring how Influencer Culture can Impact a Young Person’s Wellbeing

As we explore our latest topic of Digital Wellbeing, we are diving into the world of social media influencers and the impact their content can have on a young person’s wellbeing. We’re also featuring advice about the best way for a young person to view and think about social media influencer posts, alongside guiding you with tips and advice that will help teachers and parents to support younger people in their care to manage the content that they consume.  

What is an Influencer?

Throughout any aspect of society we’re being persuaded to buy a range of products; whether that’s clothes, food, holidays or tickets to see our favourite band. So much of this persuasion comes from advertising which many of us are familiar with on TV, in magazines or on billboards. However, as social media has grown and developed over the years, we now see this persuasion appearing on our timelines.

A lot of the time we’re being shown how a product, place or experience can have a positive impact on us by familiar or famous faces. These people are now being classed as ‘social media influencers’. When a celebrity / influencer is promoting something on social media or perhaps just posting about their day to day lives, most of the time, they are literally ‘influencing’ us to experience what they are also experiencing.

Celebrity influencers and figures from popular culture can use platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok to promote a product, movement or even highlight an important issue towards their following. Influencers that we’re familiar with today come from different backgrounds such as reality TV, radio shows, modelling, sports, YouTube and other types of media and business.No matter who they are, if they’re promoting something or changing the way we think or feel about something, then they’re an influencer!

These well-known faces will also keep their following and engagement high on social media by posting content about their day to day life. Sometimes this means that young followers are more likely to see them enjoying a lifestyle that’s very different to their own. As an example, they may see influencers going to exotic locations, driving the latest cars or socialising at new and exclusive restaurants. 

When this type of influencer content, is not consumed or managed in a positive way, it can have an impact on viewers, especially those from younger age groups. Below, we take you through some of the negative and positive aspects of influencer culture and how both of these sides can impact wellbeing.

How can Influencer Content Impact a Young Person’s Wellbeing?

So many things that young people experience, have a positive and negative impact on them. There are two sides to many topics and with influencers and influencer content, it is no exception.

As we touched on, influencers, in the majority, use their platform for good. It’s very rare that you would see an influencer feature or promote something that could be detrimental to their following (although it does happen on occasions). However there are factors of influencer content that can conjure up negative feeling. (Click on the icons to find out more)

The Positives of Influencer Culture

We have explained that influencer culture, like many other things, has positive and negatives. We’ve looked at the negatives of influencer culture and content, but now let’s explore the positives, because there are also steps that influencers do take to support their audiences. (Click on the icons to find out more)

Podcast Episode 

How to support young people 

We’ve explored some steps that teachers, parents and carers can take to support younger age groups, however there are more things that young people can learn so they don’t become negatively impacted by what they view on a daily basis. We’ve put together a guide that can support you to help them create a more positive online space. Discover our advice and guidance here

Comparison has been an underlying factor throughout this piece and BBC Bitesize also  offer advice and tips advising young people about how they can ease comparing themselves to others, online.

ProjectEVOLVE is also here to enable teachers to access more informative teaching resources around many aspects of social media and wellbeing. Our service provides effective resources to teachers of any age group, including 13 – 18 year olds!

Finally don’t forget to visit our Digital Wellbeing hub throughout this month, to gain more resources and guidance on the subject. We’re taking an in-depth look at many different aspects of digital wellbeing, so please visit our website to discover more. Alternatively you can also keep up to date with all of our advice and resources by signing up to our newsletter!