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Social Media, Influencers and the Dear Money

3 minutes reading time
6-17 years
Social Media
© photothek.net

In the age of social media, it’s easy to get glimpses into the lives of famous people. Fans can communicate with Instagram and YouTube stars via livestream or direct message. In the app TikTok, followers can even give live gifts to influencers. However, they cost real money. There is something similar on the Twitch.tv platform. Here, viewers transfer funds to video gamers while streaming live. But what do the fans actually get out of it? And how expensive can the affection for the favorite influencers become?

Do you buy virtual gifts only with play money?

The funny virtual gifts, such as a panda emoji, that you can give your stars on TikTok cost the equivalent of just a few cents. Influencers promise donors a like, a comment, or even their private cell phone number in return. The most expensive gift is available for 1000 virtual coins, which is about 17 euros. Users can buy up to 6000 coins at once for just under 110 euros. Influencers will receive diamonds as a reward for the gift from TikTok, which they can exchange for real money. Of this, TikTok keeps about half itself.

On Twitch.tv, people who show live how they play a particular video game receive monetary donations as motivation or rewards for their gaming tips from viewers. As a thank you, streamers read the donor’s name or text. In this way, even lesser-known players on Twitch can earn up to several hundred euros a month.

The business with social media

For very well-known influencers in particular, social media is no longer just a hobby; they earn their money with it. Famous influencers even have a whole team behind them. Their job is to figure out how to keep followers engaged and reach even more people. Social media apps like Instagram, TikTok and YouTube have become important tools for the advertising industry. Many influencers earn money from companies that give them money to promote their products or by embedding promotional clips in their posts.

Through the gifts of their fans, influencers can earn money without having to advertise. That’s why they ask their followers to donate:”‘If you like what I do here, then support me financially. In return, you’ll get more info about me or I’ll mention your name.”‘ For teens, livestreams are also a form of social interaction and a way to be a part of something. To keep it that way, they like to do something good for their influencer and give her or him gifts.

But not everyone uses this way of earning money: not all influencers are the same. Many of them do not want the gifts and donations from their fans.

Stay up to date!

Influencers play an important role in providing guidance for children and young people. Be understanding and show interest. Ask what the influencer your child likes is known for? What videos does she or he make and what does your child like about them?

For children and young people, it also plays a big role which apps their peers use. They want to belong and set themselves apart from the adults to some extent. This is quite normal and important for development. Talk to your child and help them install and set up a social media account. Pay attention to the privacy settings.

Platforms like TikTok and Twitch are especially popular with younger teens. Stay informed, be aware of age restrictions and abide by them. At TikTok, you can only buy coins and thus gifts when you are older than 18. Also on Twitch, monetary donations usually go through the Paypal account, for which you must be of legal age. This is because minors have only limited legal capacity. The so-called pocket money paragraph regulates that children are only allowed to buy things without their parents’ consent if they are within the price range of the available pocket money.

To avoid any nasty surprises on the cell phone bill, we have created a checklist for you on how to limit in-app purchases on your child’s device.

If you want to learn more about the topic, have a look at our colleagues from klicksafe by. They describe how exactly YouTubers earn money through the platform.

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