I had the most interesting conversation with my oldest grandson recently. We were discussing school and goals. He is under the impression that having a YouTube page and followers is a career goal. So I challenged him to give me specific examples of this actually working.
He cited some 17 year old boy that “quit high school, has a bunch of followers, and is making millions. He even bought his mom a new house.” Hmm…really? I countered with, “but how do you KNOW he’s really making millions?” To which he replied, “because his mom said so.” Hmmm…this was heading down an interesting road. I said, “you don’t think his mom would say anything to help his rating?” And then the statement I feared, “Mom’s don’t lie!” Wow…where to go…”Need I remind you of the Santa Claus incident?” Yes, I went there!
Now, this is not the first time I have heard this line of thinking. We have seniors writing senior papers about this career goal. So I will concede that there are people with enough internet followers that they are making SOME money. But millions? In actual money…like money you could pay the bills with…not free stuff?
Our next step was for me to “walk down this road” with him. So I said, “let’s assume that there is someone making millions with a YouTube channel. What specifically could you offer that isn’t already out there?” He said, “I want to make a YouTube channel of me playing my video games.” Hmmm….next problem. These kids really believe that they can make millions playing a game. I stated that this was already done. He needed something unique…not eating Tide Pods…not doing stupid stuff…but a real unique “need” for the world. I even gave real solutions…find a math problem you yourself couldn’t solve and show how to solve it…find a real world problem and find a solution…something actually useful.
I know that media is the best babysitter ever…I get it! I totally get it! Matter of fact, I’m a little jealous it wasn’t around when I raised my own children. And I’ve witnessed the on-off switch that happens when a child is handed the cell phone. It’s magic! So it’s no wonder that kids are enamored with the hopes of finding eternal “magic” and career possibilities with this “thing” that can make you millions without any real work.
And if you haven’t watched kids “watch” media these days, you’re missing the boat. They are no longer interested in movies and music. They want to watch real people doing real things…for hours! Media is changing so quickly and so are our kids. The things we feared on the Internet 10 years ago are no longer of interest to our kids. They’re in awe of fellow teens doing stupid stuff. Once again, I don’t know the answer to this dilemma…I just know that it is one. And if you think you’re kids aren’t part of this…what did Santa bring you last year?