Life Style

On the Internet, our children under the influence

On the screen, they take up all the space. With the flow of a machine gun, they talk about everything and nothing, share “anecdotes” of which they are the heroes, evoke their passions. It can be video games like SqueeZie (6.8 million subscribers), make-up (EnjoyPhoenix, 5 million) or even jokes (McFly and Carlito, 6.4 million).

Here are the influencers – sometimes called youtubeurs -, the stars of social networks which the youngest adore, forming a community of fans, with big thumbs up and hearts of color.

→ MAINTENANCE. Bruno Studer: “We must better protect children filmed by their parents”

Paradoxically, even if they are omnipresent in the lives of their children, these influencers often escape the radar of parents, who are concerned about who their children are dating in real life. “Who is my daughter looking at?” An American who gives make-up lessons ”, Chance Julie, 50 years old. “My 13-year-old son showed me the other day a sketch about people wearing their anti-Covid masks badly, it was funny”, Gilles advances. But from there to say who it was …

Product placements

However, parents would often benefit from looking into the subject, experts unanimously believe. First of all because they can have a good time together and discover original or interesting content, but also because influencers have become role models, much more surely than any “popular” in college. So you might as well know them.

This audience has not escaped marketing. Gifts, product placement, advertising banners… The most followed earn up to € 150,000 per month thanks to various partnerships with brands for which they are transformed into modern-day sandwich men. This omnipresence of money sometimes irrigates the content.

→ CRITICAL. “Children are kings”, by Delphine de Vigan: families caught up in the Web

“These links with industry are nothing new in themselves. Influencers only reproduce what was already happening in the women’s press, for example ”, notes Thomas Rohmer, president of the Open association, which supports digital parenting. “But their success shows that if the younger generations like to call themselves environmentalists, feminists and committed, they also have both feet in capitalism”, he smiles.

Luc testifies to this. Her daughter started a YouTube channel with 10,000 subscribers. The teenager may not be a star, she can no longer conceive of paying for a restaurant. “She suggests that the boss recommend the establishment to his community instead. Personally, that makes me uncomfortable ”, deplores this Parisian.

Of the need to filter

The anthropologist Pascal Plantard is alarmed by this vision of the world where everything is currency. According to him, there is an urgent need to fight against this “Informative capitalism”. Parents, he argues, must take their part in the fight. “It is not easy for a child to understand that everything that makes a hearing is not desirable”, he begins. “Filtering content, knowing how to take it and leave it supposes a minimum of maturity that the youngest do not have. “

He calls on parents to fight against a form of educational relinquishment at work as soon as we talk about digital technology. “Many do not feel competent, they believe that it is the medium of their children and that they are overwhelmed. This is a mistake: their children need them to learn to be critical. “

In the United Kingdom, this country where everyone (or almost) wants to be an influencer

Researcher suggests paying attention to what kids watch online and asking questions : “Do you believe what he says is true? “Do you think this guy is showing you his real life or a script?” “ This exercise of benevolent contradiction, which makes it possible to rub shoulders with various points of view, has indeed little place online, where, by collecting “likes” and “fans”, it is easy to stay. in a form of self, around very targeted affinities, without ever knowing other ways of thinking or contradiction.

Influencers, workaholics

“Network algorithms offer content based on what we have already clicked, resumes Pascal Plantard. Not ideal to avoid locking oneself in his certainties. ” The main thing is that parents “Recall certain principles of reality”, confirms Thomas Rohmer, so that children grow up in the world as it is and not in a bubble of illusion. They can warn against the myth of easy money, recalling that only 4% of influencers are paid by brands. And underline that building an audience takes a lot of work.

“Even if they never show it, the most followed influencers are workaholics who spend hours designing their videos, managing their production team, contracts with brands”, insists Thomas Rohmer. Even if it means breaking the image of dilettante, or of glamor, to which it is sometimes good to cling to. This distancing could become, in the coming months, even more crucial.

Indeed, political communication courts influencers. The President of the Republic has thus launched a challenge to the duo McFly and Carlito, to help them promote barrier gestures. In exchange, he must participate in an “anecdotes competition” organized by the two friends. Are young people aware of the risk of recovery?

Nothing is less certain, warns psychologist Olivier Duris. “They don’t have the necessary maturity. This worries all the more that if political speaking time is supervised by the CSA in the audiovisual sector, it is not on social networks. “ Will we witness an escalation between the parties, by interposed Youtubers, without any safeguards? The question is worth asking.


To read

To end the digital divide,

by Pascal Plantard, Mickaël Le Mentec, Marianne Trainoir,

Fyp Edition

This book, the result of many years of research, sheds new light on the notion of the digital divide and explains its real causes. It highlights the economic, cultural and social reasons for this exclusion.

To have

McFly and Carlito at the nuns of Notre-Dame de Jouarre

To understand everything about the attractiveness of influencers, this video of the comic duo McFly and Carlito, shot with the Benedictine nuns of Notre-Dame de Jouarre (Seine-et-Marne), gives the keys. It contains almost all the ingredients of this success: schoolboy humor, good humor, self-mockery… Sister Théophane, Sister France-Hélène and the others discover and comment in front of their camera extracts from videos found on YouTube. And the funniest are not necessarily the ones you think.

An association

The Observatory of Parenthood and Digital Education (Open)

The Open organizes conferences for parents and sets up discussion groups on digital education, as well as a series of podcasts entitled “The small digital talks”, to be found on its site.

The association has also published with the Scouts and Guides of France “Digital education, stay connected”, a guide that offers very concrete online activity sheets to be shared between parents and children (Presses d’Île-de-France) .


Very few influencers make a living from their activity

There are 150,000 influencers in France and 8 million worldwide.

Their activity consists of posting videos on social networks, during which they share a passion with the Internet users who follow them. These videos can then generate advertising revenue.

The turnover represented by this sector in the world amounted to around 16 billion euros in 2020, against 5.5 billion a year earlier. However, the vast majority of influencers (85%) do not make a living from their videos, and only 3% have formed partnerships with brands.

Source: Reech


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