Thursday, November 30 2023

Researchers Maitane Palacios and Fernando Bonete analyzed 100 Instagram posts of the 20 most-followed influencers in Spain. Their goal was to find out how often we see influencers’ families on this social media platform and what impression of their families they convey.

“Often when influencers talk about family, they are not referring to the actual family, but to a pet, a personal project, or even their followers,” says Palacios, who works as a strategic planner at the company Samy Alliance.

The study was conducted with the support of the tool Shinebuzz, which identified the most followed accounts in Spain. Of the 2,000 posts analyzed, the concept of “family” appears 224 times. But what are these photos really of? Palacios and Bonete note that siblings, parents, grandparents, or other relatives appear in less than 5% of those 224 images, while photos in which influencers refer to their pets or followers as their family constitute most of these posts.

“It’s interesting; when they don’t have children, pets sort of take their place,” reflects the researcher, who presented the study’s results at the conference The Family: Foundation of Civilization, organized by the Family Institute of the CEU Spanish University.

Palacios also points out that, of the 20 web creators analyzed, only five have children.

The presence of children

Of the five accounts of influencers who have children, 25% of the sample analyzed, family is shown in 80% of the content shared. “The conclusion we came to is that family on Instagram is shown most when the account owner has children,” says Palacios. “Children are—after the influencer himself/herself—the family member that appears most in the posts—up to 55% of all posts.”

At this point, an ethical debate should be raised in relation to the content featuring minors, as the study shows that 43% of advertising content shows children. “This is a very high rate of monetization of childhood,” Palacios adds.

The researcher also points out that the male profiles studied, such as those of Ibai, Auronplay, or TheGrefg, are not profiles of fathers.

Influencers, Palacios reflects, amass followers and influence those who view their content. Therefore, he concludes, it is necessary to note that on social networks “something as natural and ordinary as family is not shown,” and he regrets that family members “have no place in content, unless it’s for monetization or views.”

Fatherhood—a crucial reality

This study was presented as part of a conference dedicated to analyzing the role of the family as the foundation of civilization, in various areas: from history to media to sociology.

Carmen Fernández de la Cigoña, director of the CEU Family Institute, strongly reiterated that both father and mother play a crucial role in marriage and the family: “In the family, the union of a man and a woman goes beyond themselves and gives birth to a larger community, and both father and mother have a fundamental role. They are not to be compared, as it is a matter of working together to achieve a common goal.”

He highlighted the critical issue of the social blurring of fatherhood in today’s culture. For Fernández de la Cigoña, this “blurring of his authority and, at the same time, his responsibility and the bond of a love that adapts to everything means breaking down what should be the person’s greatest space of freedom.” The father, he concludes, must be a father, which implies “a different role from that of a friend, a colleague, a mere transmitter of norms and knowledge…. The father is something else. To care, to love, to protect, to support, to teach, to educate, to reprimand if necessary…. These are his responsibilities, and he has to be able to meet those responsibilities.”

Source: The Debate

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