From stage parent to “stream” parent, family blogging, vlogging, pranks and skits have become the new norm in the “anyone can become a star” era.
But parents should think twice before exposing their children to the online limelight.
Here are some serious things you should consider before opening up your private lives to the public.
All the world is a stage
Children will live what they see. You may not think you’re teaching your children at all times but they are certainly always learning.
Producing your life like reality TV, streaming or reading means the lines can become blurred between real life and the content your produce.
Even adults struggle with separating who they are from their public persona, so a child growing up in that environment is certainly going to be confused about who they are in public or private.
Everyone has to shift a little to keep views coming in and the fans entertained. What makes people click is not necessarily what makes a healthy human, so sacrifices often must be made.
Making content creation a large part or the center of your life means investing in and developing your brand, which is “you.”
Focusing on your persona, or perhaps facade, doesn’t leave quite as much room for growth in your personal life.
You and your kids may not mature as people as much as performers.
The real world
Sharing your life for public fame and personal gain teaches kids from an early age that creating content and allowing a voyeuristic look into their lives will spawn a successful career.
But without instilling the rules of society and expectations of the working world these children will enter when they grow up can leave them woefully unprepared to make money and make a life for themselves the old fashioned way.
The work ethic and recognition of the real world is much different from that of the “reality” world. Their skills, talents, education, and career goals need to translate to traditional jobs as well to give them the best chance at success.
So many Millennials and Gen Z’ers are struggling with their self-worth because of how entangled their self-esteem is with their social media profile.
Your child is already growing up in a world where their peers are basing their and others’ value on stats like views, likes, shares, followers, and virality. Not to mention, content monetization through brand deals, sponsorships, ads, merchandise, membership, and donations is a powerful motivator.
More income and approval for your kid reinforces their efforts and encourages them to continue, even to their own eventual detriment.
But these boosts in self-esteem are short-lived, shallow and ultimately unsatisfying. Every day starts a new cycle where your child will feel they have to compete to have the farthest reach with the most clickable content on the most popular platforms.
The popularity contests that used to only happen at school and the local hangouts are now going on right at home. Your kids will carry this weight around with them all day, everywhere they go if you’re not careful.
Teach them to value kindness
The entertainment and employment landscape is changing. And with these changes come both benefits and risks. You may have good intentions by supporting, educating or encouraging others through a look into your family life, and balancing your real-world parenting with your public brand.
But you need to be aware of the impact this choice can have on your kids. There are reasons so many child stars and reality stars spiral downward later in life.
Both seeking and having the spotlight can fundamentally affect the way you and your kids view and interact with the world.
So if you’re going to take this leap into family fandom: Remember to work on your own internal growth and development, and encourage this in your children.
Prepare your kids for careers in the real world with education, skill, and talent development, employment process training, and work culture wisdom. And instill healthy values in your kids while modeling them yourself.
Encourage them to focus on their intelligence, creativity, athleticism, interests, hobbies, empathy, social change, cultural impact, etc. to find and build their self-esteem.
Teach them to value kindness, care, honesty, maturity, learning, wisdom, curiosity and experience.