The Alpha Generation: Parenting and Influences in the Social Media Age

February 13, 2024

So have you heard about this new trend that is going viral amongst tweens and teens? They are completely blowing out all of the Sephora drawers and then going on social media to do these ridiculous get ready with me videos.

The Influence of Media and Advertising on Young Girls’ Consumer Behavior

Now, if you’re really living underneath a rock and have no idea what a get ready with me video is aka GRWM. That’s the hashtag they use. Let me give you the cliff notes version. It’s when influencers show you what their outfits are, what they’re wearing for the day, a concert they’re attending, even a date, Right?

They want you to get so invested in their date night or it will blind date too. I’ve seen that. And then they create a video talking you through their process of getting dressed. I’m serious.

This is a real thing. It’s honestly one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen. Not to mention, why on Earth are we seeing so many random strangers on the Internet’s underwear? K. This isn’t OnlyFans because, yes, these people literally start from their bottom layer and build up. Now, I, for one, am all about saving time.

Time is the only resource you can get more of, right – kill 2 birds with 1 stone. And don’t get me wrong, there have been plenty of times that I have been chatting on social media live while making my pre workout for while on a walk or yes, even when I’ve been getting ready for bed with my nighttime skincare routine because it is the only time that I have to hop on social media and have a moment to myself as a working mom. But these women go to the next level with their videos.

It’s their content. Right? Like, that is what their page is about. And to be quite frank with you, that’s how many of them are earning an income online and God bless them that they found this niche. What a time to be alive.

And what I want you to think about, though, is, like, as a society, we question why we’re such a wreck and a hot mess. Think about it. We’re actually spending time, our precious time, watching people we do not know get ready for their day.

Precious time that we could be working on our own personal growth, working on our health, working out, whatever it may be, because I hear those excuses all the time as a health and wellness mentor.

Well, I don’t have time. I don’t have time to work. Okay. Well, maybe if you stop watching people get, you know, ready for their day or their blind date, you would have more time, but I digress. Right?

Influence of social media trends on young children and the introduction of excessive materialism

Instead, like, we’re choosing to watch these people rather than working on ourselves. Make it make sense. But this Sephora deal has gone beyond your standard Internet influencer and has filtered down to young kids. Now, if you know, you know how I feel about children having access to phones, let alone social media, but I digress. This episode, I want to mainly focus on this Sephora nonsense.

I’ll be real. I didn’t even actually think this was a thing. I don’t spend as much time as I once did on TikTok because it’s a major time suck. But this is hugely viral on TikTok, and it is starting to make its presence known on Instagram, which is where I hangout.

And I’ve seen it floating around here and there, different people talking about it. But now, I’m actually hearing about it firsthand from the women, some parents, some grandparents that I teach golf. And I’ve seen these young girls with my own two eyes walking around Lululemon because it’s the same types of kids, tweens and teens alike with their lulu bags full of shorty shorts, sports bras, and their Align leggings. K?

My question is, as a teen, why on earth do you need a $60 sports bra? Now I’m not hating on Lululemon by any means.

Questionable Consumer Behavior of Tweens and Teens

Everyone and their mother knows that I pretty much exclusively wear Lululemon, not just for sports bras or leggings, but, you know, in my athleisure wear, if you will, but I also wear them for pants when I’m teaching golf.

So I’m not hating on Lululemon, but a $60 sports bra. You have many women who are adults working out in them, maybe in the privacy of their home or gym or sometimes, yes, they are on social media, but, like, why does a kid need a $60 sports bra? Who are you showing it to?

And these same kids that are in Lulu walking around, They’re the same ones that are going into Sephora and spending 100s dollars on skincare. Why? Why are these young girls who quite frankly are in their prime of their skincare? The skincare health is at pretty much almost its peak, sort of when you’re a newborn.

Why are they putting all these chemicals and artificial facial dyes and fragrances, not to mention, retinol on their skin. Retinol is often touted as a miracle skincare ingredient. It is mainly used to reduce wrinkles and fine lines and reverse aging. You know, something teens do not have a problem with at all.

Not to mention, some Retinoids are not recommended for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. But yet, we have young girls who have these hormones, and are growing and, you know, getting their cycles for the first time, all the things, like these young kids.

We are, as a society, promoting this agenda to put these types of products on their skin. Not safe for pregnant moms or those breastfeeding, but yet okay for teens and tweens.

And I think it goes without saying that young girls don’t need these products to help with the aging process. But it doesn’t help that you have TV commercials and ads and magazines with companies specifically like Neutrogena influencing the youth with their commercials.

I literally saw an ad last night with Jennifer Garner, who is, like, their poster woman, and they showed another model who, I swear, like, if she was 15, that was a lot.

Like, this was a young person. Young face. Now she could have been older in real life, but the image that they’re putting out there is they’re trying to target not women in their thirties, forties, fifties. They are trying to target these young girls.

So we have the media influencing our kids. But what I truly wonder is, where are the parents? Now, as a parent, I get it. It is a lot easier to give in and say yes then it is no to your child. In fact, saying yes, it’s just like, boop, hit the easy button.

Putting your foot down, creating boundaries, establishing values for your family, well, that’s a heck of a lot harder. And this is coming from a mom of a two year old. I can only imagine the attitudes that parents of tweens and teens are dealing with.

After a long day of work and all other things that they’re dealing with, like, they just don’t want to deal with it. Sure. Here’s my credit card. See you later.

Are we enabling the next generation to prioritize materialism over personal growth? Let’s rethink the influences we expose children to and guide them towards a more balanced mindset. #parenting #influence #alphageneration

But we need to be there for our children.

As parents, we are the first line of defense and the ones who get to the hearts of the next generation before anyone else. These kids are walking into these stores with their parents and their grandparents.

And if they happen to not be with them and be with their friends or a parent of one of their other friends and or they just get dropped off at the mall. Once again, that is another podcast for another time that I will record because I have my own feelings on that, on dropping your kids off the mall.

But they’re certainly receiving these gift cards from their family members. You know, at the holidays, birthdays, like, they’re getting them for these specific stores, so it’s being promoted within the family.

Because you can trust and believe that these teenagers and tweens, right, your 12 year olds, 13 year olds, right, they’re not working a minimum wage job and then blowing it on $100 skincare products or $45 water bottles. And when we encourage behavior like spending exorbitant amounts of money on material things like leggings or sports bras or water bottles, etcetera.

How are we teaching our kids about the value of money?

When I was a teenager, I worked, not a physical job. K? But I worked for everything that my parents provided for me, and believe me, it was a great life. My job, so to speak, was to get good grades, Play golf and the piano and be involved with the clubs at my school, volunteering.

I was class president, all the things. And if I’m being real, I didn’t have time to get in trouble, and I definitely was rewarded for it on the back end of my teenage life and into college, etcetera, because I earned the college scholarships, both athletic and academic. My first, despite all of my friends having cars before me years, like, as soon as they, boom, turned 15, 16, like, they had them way before me.

I didn’t get mine until I was 18, but mine was a Mercedes. I got to travel more than them. I never wanted for anything, but I always knew in the back of my head that if I didn’t do my job, it would be all gone. I also learned the sacrifice it took to earn said things. While I was in school you know, in high school, my friends would be goofing off.

I was at golf practice or I was volunteering for the anchor club, right, at a soup kitchen, whatever it is. In college, I was a resident assistant as well as a student athlete, but I was a resident assistant. So I sacrificed many nights While I was in college, being in charge of, so to speak, my floor.

Making sure that I was the responsible one in case anything happened. I was on duty. While the rest of my friends were at penny beer night pounding pictures of Miller Lite. Now don’t get me wrong, I definitely had my share of fun too. Okay. It wasn’t a total square, but my priorities were definitely different the most.

Parents, it’s time to instill the value of hard work and responsibility in our children. Let’s encourage them to earn their rewards and understand the sacrifices behind them. 

And every day that my husband and I go to work, my little girl knows that we are getting ready for work. She is speaking now all the time and she’ll say mama, dada, ready? Work

Mama goes to work, Dad goes to work. And even at this young age, we are teaching her about what it means to have a work ethic.

She is seeing the sacrifice it takes to have the means to have all of these things that she has, the toys, the clothes, the house, etcetera. It’s to be valued, not expected. It’s to be appreciated, first and foremost, because of the hard work that her parents are putting into all of this.

It’s something that we plan on continuing to show her as she grows up too and creating that lifestyle as she’s older. Like, the job was the good grades, being involved in you know, being involved with the church and the community and volunteering, etcetera.

But my question is, why are we encouraging our children to follow the crowd by following these trends? Moms, are you every day telling your daughters how naturally beautiful they are just the way that God created them? Dads, why are you letting your little sweet girl be sexualized with makeup and short shorts and these tank tops showing their bellies?

This age, I don’t care what decade you went through it, is hard enough. So why are we introducing these kids to the hardest parts of adulthood at least a decade before they even hit it?

We need a wake up call as a society because these children, as they age, the issues that they are facing are gonna be tenfold of what we, as their parents, grandparents, faced. It’s just a fact.

And all of that rests on the shoulders of us as their influence, their parents, their grandparents. It’s time to parent and not be your kid’s friend. Culture cannot have the upper hand. This next generation needs us, parents.

The Alpha Generation: Shaping the Future

All of these kids who were born 2010 and later, are part of what is the alpha generation. The ones before them prior to that, that is Gen Z. But these young kids, like I said, the tweens and teens, and these littles that you have in there in your house, like I do, they’re part of the alpha generation. Alpha, How powerful is that? It’s the beginning.

The beginning of a shift. Time to make a difference, time to make a change. The future starts today. Please be the change our society needs for this next generation.

If you wanna get more of this type of content, make sure you follow me on Instagram at @macrowley. And if you love this episode, let me know by tagging me on IG or even leaving a podcast review. See you next week.

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