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When Whitney Houston sang “I believe the children are our future,” she spoke to the inspiring yet abstract hope that someday (in the distant future) our kids would grow up to heal all that is broken in the world. But today, with the maturation of Web 2.0 and the creator economy in full swing, kids are seeding their influence on social media and making their presence known to an audience that spans the globe. Youth influence no longer begins with Gen Z, but with The Alphas, too, and their uniquely playful optimism. With #KidsofTikTok already at over 6.6B views, so begins the rise of the Alphluencers.
For many, kids on camera provide a warm and Wholesomely Human respite from the day. 71% of adults in December told us they turn to warm-hearted content online to uplift their spirits – a 15% increase from a prior fielding in May 2021.* But Alpha-centered content isn’t just relegated to the lighthearted and giggly. Kids are sending powerful messages addressing everything from mental health to the realities of living with different physical abilities. Their musings not only provide hope and aspiration for a brighter future but offer necessary education on timely topics, all with an honest kindness that can be hard to come by in the big, bad world of adulthood. Read on to learn more.
Kids Model Kindness
In front of the camera, kids remind us that the best things in life are simple. TikTok Aphluencer @alongcameabby uses her spirited personality to remind viewers of the importance of joy and kindness. In one recent video (4.2M views), Abby is seen dancing with a colorful umbrella in the rain singing, “don’t ever let anyone get in the way of dancing happiness in the rain.” With her dad often behind the camera in conversation, Abby’s musings – playful but wise beyond her years – take center stage. Beyond the screen, kids are sending uplifting messages of advice and hope for adults in more analog ways. Last month, West Side Elementary school art teachers in Healdsburg California inspired their young students to build purpose and kindness into their art. This led to Peptoc, a happiness hotline now receiving over 9,000 calls an hour. When callers dial 707-998-8410, they’re greeted by 11-year-old Rosely Pochan with the following menu: “If you’re feeling mad, frustrated, or nervous, press 1. If you need words of encouragement and life advice, press 2. If you need a pep talk from kindergartners, press 3. If you need to hear kids laughing with delight, press 4. For encouragement in Spanish, press 5.” Peptoc’s rapid success is a testament to how impactful children can be – especially during trying times.
Different is Beautiful
The movement of body positivity and self-love has already been ramping up with adults, but more attention is now being paid to those with different abilities, neurodivergence, and limitations. Some parents are highlighting their differently-abled children through stories of courage and resiliency, gaining influencer status by showcasing their genuine appreciation for life. 8-year-old Bella, known as Bella Brave (@kylact) to her 4.7M followers, shows the world just how resilient and joyous a kid can be despite enormous health challenges. Born without an immune system and with rare bowel disease and CHH (a form of dwarfism), Bella has undergone 24 surgeries. Her joyous and brave spirit is infectious, healing, and encouraging – a reminder that life can magical no matter what we face. Another TikTok channel features @sagewillow, born with a lucky “fin,” who at only five months old is helping spread limb-difference awareness and evolve the conversation. With nearly 1M views, this video shows how Sage has developed her strength and abilities in a unique way despite her differences – and different is beautiful.
What it Means
The Alphluencer movement is bringing a child-like spirit into the collective consciousness, elevating wholesomeness, kindness, and purity that is essential for us all in these trying times. The children aren’t just our future, they’re our now. And while parents may still be responsible for protecting and caring for our youth, we have a lot to learn from these tiny masters. The key is to listen. For brands, tapping into Alphluencers can bring out a much-needed spirit of levity and inspiration to marketing efforts.
- Kid Commands: A tech company can integrate kids’ wisdom into voice command features, enlivening a connected family home with positivity. For example, create a set of kid-triggered catchphrases that only your kids’ voices can activate. For someone feeling down, “get happy” can automate encouraging voice memos from the kiddos, select an uplifting family-friendly movie, or play some mood-boosting tunes.
- #TheFUNinFUND: A financial services company could get the ball rolling with parents looking to invest toward their children’s future. To encourage early action, create an app feature that can house voice memos from kids sharing their hopes and dreams throughout childhood. Over time, the app can stitch the personal memos together as an audio file that parents can later play for their kids at graduation to accompany their financial gift.
- Threaded Together: A fashion brand can create a line of inclusive styles and accessories made for kids with different abilities and cognitive functions. For example, what if there were an FDA-approved line of clothes in color sets that were optimal for neurodivergent children? Inclusive clothing can bring us all together in a powerful way.
Source: *Horizon Media, Finger on the Pulse. Survey fielded 11/29/21-12/9/21, n=1,140