By Savvy Cyber Kids May 11, 2018
Thanks to social media, fans and critics alike have access to celebrities’ lives — or at least, the version of their lives that celebrities choose to curate online. It’s an insider’s viewpoint that, before the advent of social media, was simply not possible.
But if your kids are following celebrities and important life lessons can be gleaned from these accounts, then use it to your advantage. Getting involved in your kid’s digital lives can start by discussing the celebrities they adore on social media.
Let’s talk about what we can learn from celebrities on social media: how they curate, how they respond to haters, and most importantly, how and why they decide to take breaks from social media.
Agencies and consultants may define the overarching strategy, professional photographers may be on-call to capture the ‘it’ shot, and employees may manage the day-to-day content — even responding to messages. It takes a team to craft a professional social media presence. The ordinary person attempting to replicate what celebrities do online would be sacrificing actually living life.
The perfection that many celebrities craft is not real. Understanding this should help young people on social media temper their attempts to replicate what their favorite celebrities are doing. Understanding this should also offer some words of caution. You may think you’re getting a response from a celebrity (and some do respond to fans), but you could also be talking to a staffer you’ve never heard of. Remind your kids, you may follow celebrities, but if you don’t know them in real life, they should not be following you!
These celebrities understand what fans want to see online and many create a space without revealing too much about themselves. While we may disagree about what is too private to share as an adult on social media, we certainly want to cultivate a sense of privacy in our kids’ social media profiles. But our kids want to be liked, and they want to be followed. Talking to your child about admired celebrity accounts and diving into what makes them interesting to your child, may help them understand how that can translate into what they present about themselves online. Help them to see that celebrities value their privacy, too.
Your child, even if they are not asking you for your opinion before they post, should at the very least pause and ask themselves, ‘what would Mom or Grannie think about this post? The internet has an excellent memory. Celebrities can weather social media missteps better than you or I can.
Nobody is perfect, but celebrities are often held up as something people yearn to emulate. Kids need to understand that celebrities — especially on social media — are also often a manufactured ideal and not perfect people. And kids need to understand that they are not celebrities and that, like anyone else, their choices online can come back to haunt them later. Keep it clean, and remember, online lasts forever.
With enough followers to populate a large metropolitan city, celebrities feel the sting of negative feedback on a regular basis. And things can get personal, fast. From the truly offensive to the bigoted and abusive, celebrities on social media must endure an onslaught of unfiltered negativity. Sure, followers who behave this way can be blocked — and that’s likely what we would encourage our kids to do if faced with this type of negativity — but some celebrities seem to have a little more freedom than you or I have to respond to negative comments or rude behavior.
Seeing how these celebrities respond can be downright inspirational. It’s worth mentioning that celebrities who have struggled with anxiety and other mental health issues have publicly made the connection between their health issues and their relationships with social media. Feeling overwhelmed or unhappy? Ask yourself how social media plays a role in your well-being.
Sometimes it’s a forever break. Often though, it’s a temporary reprieve. When asked why, celebrities may share a variety of reasons to leave the platforms. Some temporarily take themselves off social media when they have other things going on in their lives that demand focused attention. The point is that it’s ok to take a break. Your life, your friendships, and your work all go on.
An obsession with social media leads to basing your self-esteem on the number of likes you receive on a post or the number of followers you have. Our young people center their needs for an emotional connection in social media — where often zero emotional connections are made. You can find yourself feeling lonely yet surrounded by friends and followers. For celebrities, this cycle is magnified.
After all, their career success and financial stability often seem linked to their social media profiles. So, when a celebrity announces their struggles with social media, it’s their humanity that’s showing. It’s in this most authentic moment where we can truly say that celebrities are just like us. And it’s an excellent moment to learn from them.
Talk to your kids or grandkids about social media balance. Maybe slow it down as a family. See how you lead your life without documenting everything on social media and then ask yourself if living with less social media is more authentic — and which version makes you happier. Don’t let social media create a version of you based on others. Live for you, keep it real, and live without comparison.
Savvy Cyber Kids
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