Children and youth in Frankfurt (Oder): the influence of influencers on family life – what parents can do

Dopamine is the keyword when it comes to Instagram, influencers, and the question of why young people spend hours staring at their cell phones and watching stories. YouTube and Snapchat also work on the principle of firing the messenger of happiness in the brain. When Daniel Hoschke from Frankfurt (Oder) asked children and young people in the workshops how much time they spend in front of a screen per day, many 13-14-year-olds answered that it takes five to six hours. “That’s quite a number,” said a media specialist from the Center for Youth Information and Media (JIM) in a multigenerational home of Mikado.

During the pandemic and a time of low contact, this has increased. “People are not created to be alone, they need social connections,” Hochki says. Then the young people searched for role models and idols – the equivalent of what athletes, musicians, bands or actors had – on the Internet. In addition to being a role model, an influencer can also be such as a friend, older brother, or surrogate parent.

Influencers only show the supposedly beautiful things in life

The tricky thing, among other things, is that only things that are supposed to be cool are shown. “They get ready, they go back to bed and then they take great pictures,” Daniel Huschke explains. “Everyday problems are ignored” and a beautiful perfect world is conveyed. As a viewer, you can get up “with them”, have breakfast with influencers, go shopping and travel with them and experience beautiful things in your free time “together”. As a result, the feeling creeps in that you know the person, and you know what makes him or her — like a friend, so to speak.

However, the sticking point is that influencers always do what brings them more clicks and awareness – and therefore more money. When they advertise products, young people often want to have them. “If you follow an influencer long enough, you’ll feel like you know it,” says Daniel Huschke. “And if my friend owns the sneakers in a limited edition, I might as well want to have them.”

Share and win – Family Compass 2022

■ What is this? Family Compass is a statewide survey of child and family friendship in Brandenburg. It is a joint project of Märkischer Oderzeitung, Lausitzer Rundschau and Märkischer Allgemeine in collaboration with Evangelische Hochschule Dresden.

■ Why participate? With each questionnaire you answer, you are helping to improve the friendship of family and child in your place of residence. We confront policy and management with results and report in detail the situation in the municipalities.

■ What is there to win? The main prize is a Baltic family vacation for up to six people with 7 nights (includes laundry, towels, cleaning and tourism tax. Not including travel and meals). You can also win a family photo session or tickets to the show “Do” at Friedrichstadtpalast and much more.

■ How can I participate? The survey is conducted online only. Anyone can participate. Survey ends July 10, 2022. Results will be presented in the summer. You can find the questionnaire there at:

What can parents do when kids spend hours on Instagram, Snapchat and Youtube?

It is very important to talk to your children about the fact that this is only showing excerpts and not real life. These influencers can also be represented, so in principle they can play a role as in the movie and sell well. It should also be clear to children and young adults that they do not always communicate with the influencer themselves when they receive an answer to a comment. The editorial team could also be behind it or a computer program (a robot) could send the answer automatically. It is important to give the child media skills and make him wonder about things.

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How much is permissible always depends on the developmental level of children. And don’t just say ban, he says. Alternatively, watching videos and stories with the children or, if necessary, following up on your own – if they stop themselves – are options. “Kids generally think it’s cool when their parents are also interested in what they’re doing” – but at 16 or 17 that might not be the case, he says.

“Everything is just an opinion – my opinion,” says the media specialist from Frankfurt (Oder).

On the other hand, Instagram and Co. It also led to young people mimicking this and posting photos and videos of themselves from all possible situations. It’s also important to talk to them about this: What happens to this data? “The profile is always created by everyone who navigates digitally, searches something in a search engine or watches a video on an entertainment platform,” Huschke says. You leave data trails and advertising can always respond better to your desires, hobbies and inclinations.

A media educator from Frankfurt (Oder) wants parents to deal with

“The algorithm in digital life also ensures that all I get is only one opinion – my opinion. Daniel Hochke points out, and I always get that. The so-called bubble effect is also technically known as an echo chamber: what I scream comes back.”

The plus side: Influencers can also encourage children and young people to play sports

In his experience, he begins dealing with influencers around the eighth grade. Before that, for example, playing football was still a popular pastime. But if at some point you no longer go to after-school care, you often spend time on your cell phone. So e-sports, on-screen sports, is sometimes more interesting than sports in the sports field.

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However, Daniel Huschke also sees positive aspects in this topic. If a sports influencer does a little exercise every day and young people are encouraged to do the same, that might be fine. Or when someone presents a book that you want to buy yourself. Computer games in which you have to solve problems can also be complex. In the end, it always comes down to the mix. After all, even an hour-long evening of board games – in itself also good for adults who have to lay off their cell phones for two or three hours – is one-sided at some point.

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