File photo. Photograph:( Agencia EFE )
'Kids see that young people are recording videos and posting them online and that they get a huge amount of money for doing so and become famous. They want to be like them,' said David Ruiperez, author of the book.
Children are putting themselves in increased danger with their online activities trying to imitate high-profile Youtubers and social media influencers all in the name of likes, the author of a new book on the topic told EFE Monday.
David Ruiperez, author of the book "Mi vida por un like" ("My life for a like"), spoke to EFE about how children were facing grave dangers as a result of their desire to imitate influencers, high-profile internet personalities who are often approached by brands for promotions and warned parents to keep a track on who their offspring follow in the online world.
He said it was of vital importance that parents got to grips with how their children were interacting online as, according to him, it bore little resemblance to how the average adult may use social media.
"Kids see that young people are recording videos and posting them online and that they get a huge amount of money for doing so and become famous. They want to be like them," Ruipérez said.
The thirst for online attention sees many young people picturing themselves in extreme and dangerous situations; others, usually the girls, pose in sensual and suggestive ways and then post these pictures online.
All of this whilst running the very real risk of never being able to take them down if, in the future, they were to regret posting them in the first place.
The author said parents were often blind to the situation, given that children often spend time surfing the social mediascape from the comforts of their own house. Parents may be unaware as to exactly what information their children could be sharing with people online.
The author, who is also a coordinator of content for the department of communications for the Spanish General Council of Nursing, did recognize that social media had a lot of potential as a communications tool but it is important to control it and show children and young people how to use it adequately.
"Understanding this phenomenon as soon as possible is the key to guiding our children in their online activities," the expert concluded.