Debbie Gordon talks to reporters at Centennial College about a new social media report.

Do you know what your kids are doing online?

More and more youth moving to social media, study says

It’s the #attentioneconomy.

Centennial College’s kidsmediacentre recently conducted research — titled #InstaFAME — on youth in social media and revealed its findings and at a small press conference at the Story Arts Centre on Wednesday.

According to kidsmediacentre director Debbie Gordon, young people are constantly farming for shares and likes for a multitude of reasons. #hashtagcrazy

“So many young people are now creating videos … they have now become a moniker,” Gordon said. “It’s how they’re identified.”

Youth identifying themselves on social media has been growing for years. When Facebook began, it was adopted as a standard. Gordon said parents have figured out how to use Facebook now, which only drives young people away. Youth may also take to social media for financial purposes. #incomegap

“The more attractive the person, the more followers,” Gordon said. “Once you hit 50,000 followers on Tumblr … you can start using Google advertising. This is how they’re making their allowances.”

Others take to social media for vain reasons. Starbucks, for instance, became popular on Instagram and Twitter given its prestige. Youth can not typically afford cars or houses, but they can very easily grab a cappuccino from the local barrista. #foamontop

It’s also a major issue for parents, left behind on social platforms.

“Every child has a computer in their pocket now, which makes it difficult for parents to find out anything,” said Kayla McNally, another presenter at the press conference.

“For parents who are digital pioneers, this is new,” Gordon said. “How are we scaffolding their … decision-making? These tools can be used for so much growth, and we’d like to see it move back in that direction.”

Lesson plans are set to be offered to parents looking to help their kids, and to become more connected with them. Gordon believes that most “social media farmers” are looking for love, attention, and acceptance, all possible at home. #familyfriends

“Spam used to be a bad thing,” Gordon said. “Now, it’s: ‘I’ll spam you, you spam me. I’ll follow you, if you follow me.'”