How to set realistic expectations for your aspiring content creator

By: Eric Morse

If your kid wants to know how to be a content creator and influencer, it’s helpful to set some realistic expectations first—with some tips from a parent who’s been through it.

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Aspiring Content Creator With Parent

“Dad, can I start my own YouTube channel?” I have four kids, the oldest of whom is 14, so if my math is correct, I’ve fielded this question approximately 50,000 times.

When it comes to kids’ being an influencer today, the universe of social platforms is considerable and can be overwhelming—not to mention the considerations each one carries with it. But the answer, in any instance, is “It depends.” Like most parts of modern parenting, the influencer and content creator game can be a tangled mess of technical, logistical and emotional questions. While your kid may be eager to get straight to the “how” of it all (fortunately, the internet is fully stocked with helpful step-by-step instructions), it’s important to start with this question: Are they ready for it?

Start by asking if they’re ready for social media.

For parents, it’s vital to consider whether your child has a healthy relationship with social media. For example:

  • How does social media impact their self esteem?

  • How does it make them feel when they’re using it?

  • Do they thoughtfully interact with posts, or do they scroll through posts?

  • Can they easily put away the phone or tablet when asked?

  • Is it age appropriate for them to be on these apps? Even if your child is over the age of 13, are they developmentally ready for the risks and rewards that come with social media? 

  • How will your child feel about seeing these posts much later in life as they become a permanent part of their digital footprint?

If you feel like your child is ready, then it’s important to ask your child: Why do they want to be an influencer?

Ask them: Why do you want to be an influencer?

As parents, we constantly hear how important it is to keep an open dialogue with our kids. In this case, listen and ask more questions if you need clarity, but the goal is to let them do the talking..

Ask your child:

  • Why do you want to be an influencer?

  • Who do you want to make content for?

  • Where do you want to share your content?

  • How much time do you want to spend each week on it?

  • How often do you want to publish something?

  • How long do you want to try this out? Listen to their answer, then consider making a commitment together. For example, try making six posts with a plan to revisit the idea at the end of the trial run to see if they’re still enjoying it.

  • Who do you want to share your content with? Consider sharing with friends and family at first. If they’re still enjoying the process, ask if they’re ready to go public.

And before they’re ready to go public and open themselves to comments from people they don’t know, make sure they can answer this question: What’s the difference between an online commenter and a real friend?

Kids’ content creator: Set the expectations.

Set some realistic expectations about what’s going to happen when they get started. Let your content creator know that a viral video or post is not the goal. Those first likes will probably be some very enthusiastic friends and family.

For example, that first video is a drop of water in the fire hose of new content being uploaded daily (for example, 500 hours of videos were uploaded to YouTube every minute in June, 2022), and thanks to how social media algorithms work, it will be hard for potential viewers to find it. And that’s OK.

Break the process down into smaller goals: crafting a message, telling a good story with photos or video, and maybe, finally, spending time making something with their friends, or with you.

Just remember that the best milestones for your content creators are those of internal validation, so keep that open dialogue going.


  • How does the latest post stack up to their earlier efforts?

  • What elements are they proudest of?

  • Where do they still want to improve?

  • What part of the process are they finding the most challenging?

  • Have they found any influencers they’d like to emulate?

Set the guardrails.

To state the obvious, your child’s safety is your most important concern. We’re all aware of online predators, cyberbullying and the like. Becoming an influencer can expose them to the dangers of excessive screen time, inappropriate content and many flavors of toxic trolls.

So familiarize yourself with the Parent Settings in the social media app you plan to use—and make a plan to keep screen time in check and monitor the content they are creating as well as consuming.

  • Privacy also needs to be top of mind. Social media apps give varying levels of options for monitoring, moderating and managing the views and comments on your kid’s content. So be sure to understand these for the specific platform your kid intends to use. Ideally, set posts to private. This is the safest setting, where only people you share the content with can view it. And learn about what your options are for blocking and reporting inappropriate content and users.

  • Connect their social media account to yours so you can easily monitor interactions and messages. This helps your teen learn that nothing online is private. And as they earn your trust, plan to move off their account.

  • Talk about their digital footprint. Remind teens that what they post publicly today stays online. So how would this content affect the kind of goals they have for more schooling, such as college, or the kind of job they want to have later in life? Would their digital presence be helpful?

Set the stage.

While the appeal of being a content creator or influencer is its democratic nature—anyone can do it!—the fact is, the most popular content creators put hours of planning into their finished products.

This can be a great opportunity for parent-child bonding as you work through the process of creating something from scratch together. Think of it like a science fair project that they actually want to work on. It’s your chance to teach them about building a story, planning a photo or video shoot and even editing. Getting into the weeds is encouraged … as long as you let them lead.

“Emphasize process, not product,” writes Mitch Resnick, professor of learning research at the MIT Media Lab, in his book Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity through Projects, Passion, Peers, and Play. “Ask children about their strategies and their sources of inspiration. Encourage experimentation by honoring failed experiments as much as successful ones. Allocate times for children to share the intermediate stages of their projects and discuss what they plan to do next and why.”

Remember: As in any endeavor, the secret to success in creating kids’ content boils down to taking an active role in your child’s new endeavor. Your child may think you’re making videos, but as any parent can attest, you’re actually making memories.

The final product

As mentioned at the start of this article, it’s important to consider how your child will feel about seeing these posts much later in life as they become a permanent part of their digital footprint. A maturing kid may feel differently about the content as they grow, and that’s OK—be supportive of their evolving concerns and even helpful in taking down anything if it ever feels necessary.

I recently stumbled on some of my oldest son’s earliest videos, which were posted privately, from 2015. He was 7 years old, cataloging his Pokemon collection for an imaginary audience, using his best “official” voice. About halfway through, he paused, looked off screen, and with those big doe eyes and tiny kindergarten voice, asked me to come sit next to him. While this post didn’t garner him the internet fame he may have imagined, I can tell you that his co-star felt like the luckiest person in the world.

Set healthy screen time boundaries, turn off data and WiFi at bedtime, and monitor how much time they’re spending online with Smart Family.

About the author:

Eric Morse is a writer, former media and entertainment industry executive, and single father of four.


The author has been compensated by Verizon for this article.

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