EDITORIAL: Why I’m not letting my kids use social media except the YouTube channel they star in that pays our mortgage - The Beaverton

EDITORIAL: Why I’m not letting my kids use social media except the YouTube channel they star in that pays our mortgage

By Ashley Drin

Today’s children are under more scrutiny than ever, thanks to the toxic forces of . The endless, crushing pressure to expose their most vulnerable moments, private thoughts, and fragile, infinitely precious feelings so they can be judged by strangers in exchange for fleeting, fickle validation. While the choice hasn’t been easy, I’ve decided to protect my children by prohibiting them from using social media, with the exception of the wildly popular channel I’ve created for them to star in that through a combination of revenue sharing and sponsored content brings in approximately $12-15,000 per month.

There are undoubtedly trade-offs in keeping little Laury and Lyndon from setting up their own Instagram or SnapChat accounts. Sometimes it grieves me to know that they won’t be able to stay as connected with their peers. But I’d like to think that in a way, through the TikTok dances I have them perform, and cupcakes I have them bake, and Christmas presents I have them open (and sometimes re-wrap and re-open if the lighting wasn’t good the first time), I’ve helped them connect to a worldwide audience of peers aged 24-35 interested in buying home goods and childcare products.

When I see other parents succumbing to the temptation to let their use social media, and their child is hunched over a screen, watching a video they’re not even starring in, I can’t help but feel a twinge of pity. Last week I had to stop myself from grabbing the Playstation controller out of my nephew’s hand, giving my sister-in-law a good shake in the shoulders, and telling her she could be getting at least 5% of Twitch revenue if she just had the discipline to set one up.

Personally, I try to limit The Double L Machine’s screen time to morning, after school, bedtime, dinnertime, first school dances, and funerals (but just grandparents). Also sometimes we need to get up in the middle of the night to make sure we can do a livestream for the West Coast market before everybody in California goes to bed, but half the time the kids don’t really understand they’re awake and just think they’re caught in a weird dream they can’t wake up from.

Do I sometimes worry that limiting my children’s social media use to just a single highly-monetized empire I manage is being too strict? Of course. But I think it teaches them a valuable lesson about discipline. For example, when little Laury told me she didn’t want to use the boutique menstrual pads I negotiated a sponsorship deal with for her first period, rather than getting frustrated, I chose to make it a teachable moment. We had a great heart-to-heart about how when a young lady reaches a certain age, she needs to learn about setting up and honouring endorsement deals.

Finally, I’m happy to say that even if they don’t indulge in the same social-media addiction as their friends, I’ve been able to set them up on lots of fun play-dates, with kids who have even larger followings!