Keep Them Grounded, Give Them Confidence

I posted a status on facebook this evening about the alarming rate of teens (and younger) buying likes and followers on social media. It started a conversation amongst my friends, as most posts do. Many adults had no idea that children were purchasing likes and followers on social. Some didn’t even know the concept of buying “approval” even existed. And so, the conversation unfurled.

Rantic, one of the most profitable companies that farms bots for social media platforms like Instagram services heavily to the teenage female demographic. Users can spend in the thousands of dollars to buy followers in order to gain more organic reach, and to appear more important in the eyes of their friends and frenemies.

Instagram has cracked down on the amount of fake accounts and bots that slide through the system, but the reality is, they still exist and teens are purchasing them at a frenetic rate.

What does this say about our society and our future generations? As a mother who works in Marketing and social media, I find it incredibly alarming that 1) children are feeling so low about themselves that they must go to these lengths to purchase followers and 2) where are the parents and why don’t they empower and uplift their children, building confidence and a sense of self worth naturally?

Social media is not going away, and for those of us who parent during these times, it’s unchartered territory. I have two teenagers who are active and engaged on social media, and I feel it’s my duty to explain the pros and cons of being on these platforms. I also feel it’s my responsibility (and one I gladly take on whole heartedly) to encourage my children and to fill them with confidence.

Snapchat is probably the most beneficial social media platform out there to date, as it does not produce likes or comments. It allows my teenage daughter to interact with her friends, just as it allows me to interact with my friends. However, there are indeed companies who will sell you followers.

We’re living in an age where acceptance and approval via social media has become the norm. What many fail to realize is that it’s affecting a whole generation of young, impressionable minds that need to understand the dangers of fake accounts and a false sense of self worth.

Children need to be praised, held up and awarded for their achievements, their accomplishments, their good deeds and their beautiful minds and bodies. They do not need to be awarded fake likes and fake followers to give them a sense of acceptance and belonging.

How do we stop this trend? We can’t shut companies down from farming bots and selling followers. However, we CAN give a clear, accurate picture of what reality is vs. the “reality” of social media engagement. More time interacting and spent with friends, family and team mates off devices is how children should be feeding their self worth and need for acceptance. The concept of REAL self worth and approval is what needs to be taught. And it does not come from likes and followers, it comes from within.