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Beware of the Influencer

Remember when Tony the Tiger announced "It's Grrrrreat" while watching Saturday morning cartoons? Mom told you she would not purchase that sweet cereal and you did not understand why. Tony was "great" and he eats the cereal. Imagine today that you are viewing, as a child, YouTube videos, and a Vlogger child is showing you the latest and greatest toy or food item. You know him, you watch him every day and often engage in similar activities he is recording on his videos. This is the world of digital marketing.

"YouTube Kids is a kid-targeted version of YouTube that features curated, ad-supported TV shows, music, educational videos, and user-created content. It's designed for kids from preschool age to age 12”[1] Young children are very responsive to the quickly changing features, animation, sounds, that are produced to engage their attention and market products. The act of viewing and swiping and tapping in the video may cause rapid shifts in attention and may have long-term effects on attention span and information processing.[2]

The best marketing videos for young children also target adults. An adult watching the content with their child is exposed to clever products being demonstrated by the Vlogger within the video and may see themselves playing with their child using the products.

Grin, a digital marketing "how-to" company instructs, "Working with kid influencers and their parents can be really helpful for your marketing campaigns.”[3] Remember Tony the Tiger? Perhaps, he should have been impressing Mom.

The influencer market works. "The practice of “influencer marketing” refers to advertisers closing deals with influencers, which entail promotion in exchange for payment, free products, or invitations to exclusive events.[4] Ryan's Toy Review has 6 million subscribers watching him demonstrate all types of toys for young children. Ryan is 7 years old. Evan Tube HD has billions of views and makes millions of dollars each year.[5]

It's time to begin monitoring the influencers. What may appear benign content is most likely curated to convince. Satan can take hold of thoughts so quickly. He is a clever influencer and he surely uses all the tools he can to turn our thoughts to the enticements of the world. Ask yourself if that cute child Vlogger has become an idol to your child. Is the influence of media that your child views stronger than the influence of loving parents and the Christian lifestyle? Is your child bored with normal life and excited by what he views on YouTube? Is your child addicted to one or more television programs, YouTube videos, or games? If your answer to any of these questions is "yes" changes may need to be considered.

The wisdom of Proverbs 22:6 is so relevant today. It is a measuring tool for parenting. "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Is your child training up in the way of the child influencer he watches or the loving parents he lives with? Parents need to help their children guard themselves from idols (I John 5:21) Be diligent, be wise parents.

Foundations of Truth hereby waives all claim of copyright (economic and moral) in this work and immediately places it in the public domain; it may be used, published, edited, and distributed in any manner whatsoever without any attribution or notice to Foundations of Truth.

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