Centennial study explores teens' desire for "#Instafame"

November 14, 2014

A new study from Centennial College examines the lengths to which some young people will go to attract attention online, but cautions that many do so without being aware of the possible repercussions. The study of mostly North American Internet users aged 13 to 18 found that many teens, male and female, willingly give up their online privacy and post provocative photos to emulate stars like Kim Kardashian and Miley Cyrus. Some of these so-called “#Instafamers”—who may have thousands of followers—have even successfully monetized their online presence by selling endorsements or ad space. Debbie Gordon, Director of Centennial’s Kids Research Centre, said that most teens are using social media responsibly, but those who do not leave themselves vulnerable to bullying, exploitation, or predatory behaviour. “We’re not saying that these tools and platforms are evil or dangerous—they’re not. We just want kids to be thinking about … what kind of messages they’re saying,” Gordon said. Gordon said that the study demonstrates the need for mentoring and parental involvement in young people’s online activities. The results of the research have been compiled in an online resource. Centennial News Release | Toronto Star | #Instafame Web Site