The reach of influencer content has sky-rocketed over the past decade, coinciding with the rise of social media. The accessibility of these platforms allow ordinary people to gain a huge following. The days where you have to act, play an instrument, or excel at a sport to become famous are now over. Now, merely commentating on pop culture, or reviewing your favourite face wash is sufficient.
There’s a much more controversial side to this influencer trade, though: Kid Influencers.
Take YouTube ‘Kidfluencer’ Ryan ToysReview for example, with 18.7 million subscribers on social platform, YouTube. Forbes estimated that the 7-year-old makes US$11 million per year, just for reviewing toys. A video that was published merely 16 hours has already gained 2.1 million views!
The main problem seen with ‘Kidfluencers’ is to do with their target audience. In an era where it seems most children have an iPad, kids may not be able to distinguish between sponsored and non-sponsored content. The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) recently updated their “Advertising and Marketing Communications Code”, Article 18 reading; “Marketing communications directed to children should be clearly distinguishable to them as such”. This denoting that advertised content directed towards children must be made clear.
It is the rise of socials platforms, particularly YouTube and Instagram, that allow people to build an empire at no cost. Platforms such as these operate through advertising models that offer users a free experience.
Privacy is a virtue for these kids, with much of their lives published online. Their day-to-day activities being recorded… from their home. What age can a child fully consent to being an online personality (which are usually the wishes of their parents)?
Look, maybe I’m just jealous that these under 10’s earn more than I ever will, but these kids surely don’t understand the extent of what they’re doing, or the impact it’ll have on other people.
What’s your view? Should their be more restrictions on who can market and who can be marketed to?