Headshot Young Girl

Matthew Goodwin

VIA22 APAC

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Challenge

Social media becomes bigger, better and brighter every year. It is so integrated into our daily lives, and has become more and more accessible to our young people. Almost all of these platforms use our data to target us with information, other media, and advertisements every day. It’s not as simple as cookies and privacy settings either, as much of the targeted media is embedded within the other media that we already consume. Product placement is used in such ingenious ways to find the right audience. It creates a cycle of consumption where it can be difficult to distinguish social media from the other types of media. This isn’t to say it’s all negative, as much of it provides entertainment, interest, and access to communities that we wouldn’t otherwise have. However it is very complex and no doubt confusing at times for our young people. Do our young people recognise that it’s a Disney advertisement when they see Darth Vader doing Tiktok dances on Fortnite? I wonder if a better understanding of this would affect their decisions to buy and use skins/emotes in-game, knowing that they are in a sense advertising on behalf of those companies. Would they send and share videos of it to their friends, knowing that? I don’t believe our young people have a great enough understanding of what media is, who creates it, what it is created for, nor can they identify when they are consuming it. All media, but particularly social media can be very influential on the way we think, what we are thinking about, as well as our decision making. Therefore our young people need to be equipped to recognise, and be critical of it before they have full access to it.