About this Research Topic
Social media influencers (e.g. beauty bloggers, video game vloggers, toy unboxers, instafamous) are extremely popular among minors. Influencers seem to play an important role in minors' lives, first, because minors spend a large part of their time watching, viewing, liking, forwarding, and commenting on influencers' content. As such, the level of involvement with influencer content seems high. Second, minors turn to these influencers not only for entertainment, but also for information, advice, company and comfort. However, scientifically-grounded insights on the role of social media influencers in the lives of children and adolescents are still scarce.
Specifically, at least four key themes for research are identified. First, influencers are assumed to be so appealing because they are similar to their audiences. They are often perceived as 'the boy or girl next door' with whom identification is easy. However, there are probably more reasons for the attraction of influencers. Research is needed to unravel the underlying psychological mechanisms that explain the appeal of social media influencers.
Second, the impact of social media influencers on minors may have both desirable and undesirable consequences. Influencers may inspire minors to behave pro-socially or more healthy, but they may also show bad examples of smoking, drinking, or even criminal behavior. In addition, influencer content may also affect minors' psychological well-being, materialism, body satisfaction.
Third, because social media influencers are assumed to have impact on their audiences, they are also used by third parties for commercial purposes. For example, brands pay influencers to promote products in content that influencers create. Similarly, governments or NGO's turn to influencers to promote healthy, social, or environmental friendly behavior among minors. Despite the popularity of so-called influencer marketing, theoretical or empirical insights into whether and why influencers are persuasive among minors and which (psychological) mechanisms underlie this, are limited.
Fourth, some social media influencers are minors themselves. With major brands signing up for paid partnerships, a growing number of child and adolescent influencers (and their parents) are striving to make a profit, which leads to important legal, ethical and philosophical questions.
This Research Topic aims to enhance our understanding of the role of social media influencers in the lives of children and adolescents. Topics include, but are not limited to:
· Minors' uses and gratifications related to social media influencers
· Meaning of social media influencers for minors' identity development
· Identification and parasocial relationships with social media influencers
· Social media influencers as role models
· Psychological effects of social media influencer content on minors' well-being (e.g., materialism, body satisfaction)
· Persuasive effects of social media influencers on minors
· Commercial and (pro)social influencer marketing
· Legal aspects of social media influencers, including disclosures of influencer marketing
· The industry behind social media influencers targeting minors
· Minors as social media influencers
· Parental attitudes and mediation styles with regard to social media influencers
· Educating and empowering minors on social media influencers
For this Research Topic we welcome original submissions, including empirical papers (qualitative and/or quantitative research), theoretical papers, literature reviews, and conceptual papers.
Keywords: influencers, social media, adolescents, children, minors
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.