An influencer is someone with an online social media presence and with a large enough following to market or ‘influence’ their audience to buy products, services and goods.

The truth is that anyone can be an influencer, and some are famous solely for being an influencer. Popular influencers often create and sustain a close following from their fans, who might aspire to be more like them or see them as an ideal friend.

Young people may identify with an influencer who might be like them, or who they want to be like. The impacts of influencers on young people can be both positive and negative. They may encourage positive behaviour and engagement with school and friendship groups or provide inspiration in an area of interest including fitness, fashion and gaming. But they may also show harmful behaviours such as smoking, drinking, bad language and unattainable body standards.

Social media influencers are popular with young people who spend lots of time watching, commenting and sharing their content. These influencers are a source of entertainment for young people, but they can also provide information, advice and guidance.

A social media influencer can be:

  • Gamers, musicians, toy unboxers, reality TV actors and other celebrities

  • YouTube vloggers, Instagram celebrities and fashion/beauty bloggers

  • Pranksters, funny vloggers or ‘dare’ type channel presenters

Influencer Fan Base

Influencers often appear to have an attractive, flashy lifestyle and form loyal fan bases or ‘fandoms’. Some of these fan bases have a strong sense of community and even have names either created by celebrities or by the fan groups themselves.

These names are often used by influencers and celebrities to address and talk directly to their fans. Being part of these communities can be a significant marker of a young person’s identity.

Popular Fandom Names Include:

  • Beyoncé fans are known as the ‘The Beyhive’.

  • Jake Paul’s fans are known as ‘Jake Paulers’.

  • Lady GaGa’s fans are known as ‘Little Monsters’.

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Visit our Home Learning Hub for free lessons, including this one on Influencers. The lesson looks at what an influencer is, what they do, how they make money and a couple of things for young people to be wary of when watching & following their favourite gamers, creators and celebs.

What you should know about influencers

Younger children may not be able to tell the difference between normal content and obvious advertising from people they admire and respect.

Products may also not be suitable or appropriate for young people, like diet pills or slimming teas. Young people may be encouraged (influenced) to pay, subscribe or join other communities. They may also be more sensitive to ‘asks’ from influencers to help them financially to continue producing content.

What you can do:

  • Make sure young people know that influencers may promote products for money

  • Set responsible parental controls, so inappropriate content is limited for young people

  • Set screen time limits when possible and encourage young people to socialise offline with their friends

  • Keep up to date with what content, vloggers and influencers young people spend time with

  • Talk and listen to young people about their favourite influencers, this will give you the opportunity to reframe any negative opinions or messages

The above content is an excerpt from our Safer Schools App. To find out if your school is eligible for free access, get in touch with our team today.

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