Influencers and digital marketing: Science is studying how vulnerable minors are in social networks

Advertising has always collaborated with famous personalities to spread brands and products. Today, some popular characters are influencerswhich publishes its content on social networks, an interactive and close stage with diverse audiences eager to know their opinions or their lifestyles. Nothing escapes his interest: fashion, technology, cryptocurrency, travel…

Minors play a big role in the digital world. They invest a lot of time and seek to fulfill their entertainment and socialization needs. But They are also exposed to content that mixes persuasion, information and entertainment, and requires intelligent and decisive management to discern and share what they consume.

these contents Hybrids They are at the heart of influencer marketing, whose champions are particularly appealing to minors. Communication and identification The way they feel about these celebrities raises some concern given the influence they can wield.

Although there is a file self-regulating code It encourages identification of sponsored content, not always achieved. And globalization means that exposure to global content does not always include appropriate labels. Therefore, the ability of the user to deal with this reality is important.

Young people spend a large part of their time consuming social networksstock struggle

Are minors aware of the disguised intent of these contents? Our research project It analyzes the way Spanish teenagers aged 11-17 assume the promotion of products as part of the core influential. They know these celebrities are resorting to compelling strategies and praise products As part of your work And they pay for it.

Profession or origin influencers It helps them assess the credibility of your business offer. The association with the product they are advertising is crucial: it is not the same for an athlete to promote a pair of shoes as it is for someone who has nothing to do with the world of sports.

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They also know that a file influencers They soften their posts and show the sweet side of their lives. They know they are using resources like filters to beautify reality. Age, maturity and experience are also key. Certain elements help youngsters awaken their critical ability: repeating phrases or identifying content as advertising, among other things.

Adolescents associate the use of these methods with relativism and accept them as belonging influencers and social networks. Moreover, they are integrating it themselves into their digital actions. Thus, it is common to have two profiles on the same platform: One as a showcase to show his “public life” with carefully curated content for family and acquaintances, and another private and intimate for the nearest circle.

Influencers have become an entertainment that is widely consumed by young people
Influencers have become an entertainment that is widely consumed by young peoplestock struggle

It is clear that teenagers are not naive to the content generated by influencers And practice some critical thinking. They get to know the ads and realize the rules of the business game, which they assume are their own without thinking about the implications. Therefore, minors apply critical thinking on the cognitive and emotional level, but hardly think on the moral dimension. It does not suggest exaggerating or using filters or personal data to segment the ad.

Minors assume that influencers They sell products, but do not ask themselves what consequences this can entail, especially for the most vulnerable. This deeper contemplation escapes their understanding and does not seem to concern them. They seek immediate gratification of their social and recreational needs in a commercial digital context.

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Given this scenario, digital literacy must include the moral dimension that helps minors distinguish good or bad. Also to reflect on their impact on themselves, others and society. Only in this way can full critical thinking be achieved, which is essential in the digital environment where content takes diffuse forms and is constantly changing.

There is no point in focusing only on limiting screen time. The ubiquity of technology renders this metric obsolete, which in itself does not prepare the minor to confront digital reality in a critical manner. Experts encourage us to ask ourselves not about how many but for him Why. It is the reasons for use and the intentions behind the actions that will determine their moral character.

Influencers invest a lot of time and seek to cater to the entertainment and socialization needs of young people
Influencers invest a lot of time and seek to cater to the entertainment and socialization needs of young peoplestock struggle

The person should be placed at the center and the digital immersion should take place not only from an artistic point of view, but also from a human and integral point of view. It is about thinking about the ethical dimension of technology use. Should Understand that technology connects peopleAnd that this requires an ethical vision to promote coexistence and respect.

influencerssocial networks, filters, viewing, ‘likes’ … educators must know and understand the media reality in which minors live. Only in this way can they be accompanied in a world of ephemeral tendencies, but in which truth and identity always remain.

This text is reproduced from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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