Are you happy with your life? Do you feel like you are making enough money? Are you at the point of your career that you thought you would be by your age? How about your love life, is that perfect?
Expectations are incredibly dangerous when they are unrealistic. There are so many expectations and ideals to live up to nowadays. In years past, the American dream was generally a white picket fence, two children, and a dog. That’s manageable. It’s hard to buy a house, but not impossible. Meeting someone is a big ordeal but still within the realm of possibilities.
In the 2010’s, this ideal has changed. While some people very much still strive for the traditional American dream, society pushes people to reach an entirely different expectation. Rather than expecting our young people to strive for houses and families, they push people to strive for fame and money. I realize that Hollywood has always glamorized the lifestyles of the rich and famous, but parents, you have no idea what your kids are being exposed to on YouTube, Tik Tok, and Instagram.
Your children and teens are spending their time watching influencers on social media content creation platforms spending exorbitant amounts of money on mansions, cars, designer clothes, gadget, etc. If you think I’m just talking about the Kardashians, you are sorely mistaken. Ask your kids about Jake and Logan Paul. You’ve probably heard of these Disney channel stars turned YouTube pranksters, mainly when Logan, the older of the two made national news filming a real dead body in the suicide forest in Japan.
Beyond all the very problematic content on this channel (which you should definitely be concerned about, but that’s a different conversation), these boys and their group of friends portray incredibly irresponsible financial decisions and total abundance of wealth and fame. There are many of these type of influencers across channels and interests (beauty gurus, sports channels, comedy channels, diy, video games, etc) that likely cover one or more of your child’s interests. I think the Paul brothers are especially dangerous because of the ages of their viewers.
The primary audience of Jake and Logan Paul is kids aged 7-19. That’s a very young audience, and it likely includes your child. Jake Paul alone has 17,599,368 subscribers on just his main channel. A significant portion of that immense subscriber count is young children that don’t have the discretion and judgement to understand that the Paul brothers don’t have a normal life. This results in unrealistic expectations. The more your child takes in content from these beautiful, rich, irresponsible people, the more they desire to be like them.
Earlier this year, 1,000 kids ages 6-17 were surveyed about what they want to be when they grow up. The top five answers were: Youtuber, Blogger/Vlogger, Musician, Actor/Actress, and then Doctor/Nurse. While this was a somewhat small data pool, several similar research studies and surveys have found similar results. To me, that is both terrifying (thinking long term about jobs in our country) and sad to think that our children have those expectations for themselves.