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TikTok’s Sephora Kids: What Parents Need to Know

As a mother, it’s shocking (and sometimes concerning) to see how much influence TikTok and its social media stars have over our tween and teen daughters. Suddenly, they’re not just into makeup; they’re into expensive makeup, and unfortunately, TikTok is to blame.

TikTok has swiftly become a favorite hangout for tweens and teens, with its short videos and catchy trends. But there’s more to it than just harmless entertainment. As parents, especially of tweens and teens, we need to keep a close watch on the types of content our kids are consuming, which includes not only the videos they watch but also the trends, challenges, and hashtags they engage with. And we can’t stop there.

Sure, TikTok has its fun challenges like the dance-offs, but there are also dangerous and potentially deadly ones, like the belt challenge. What’s more concerning is the sway that social media influencers hold over our kids. They know precisely how to connect with their audience, especially tween girls, and they’re masterful at convincing them that expensive makeup is a necessity.

Tween girls are now a significant force in the beauty industry, with Sephora stores being their main target. Influencers have dubbed these girls, “Sephora Kids.” They actively seek out products endorsed by their favorite online personalities, aka influencers. These influencers lure our daughters with their “get ready with me” videos, showcasing expensive makeup like it’s essential for survival.

But it’s not just influencers doing the influencing; our own teens and tweens are becoming influencers too. They’re sharing their beauty routines and product recommendations, further perpetuating the cycle. As much as we’d like to think our daughters are immune to peer pressure, the reality is that they want to fit in. Fear of missing out is as real as ever, and it’s driving our kids to desire what everyone else seems to have.

We need to have important conversations with them on how to navigate TikTok responsibly, the influence of TikTok influencers, and how they may shape perceptions, behaviors, and spending habits. We need to stay informed about what our kids are exposed to online and maintain open, honest conversations about their digital habits.

As a mom, I know how reading this can be overwhelming – “Where do I start? What do I say?” How do I talk to them in such a way that I don’t totally shut down the conversation?”

So, what’s a mom to do? Despite feeling overwhelmed by the pervasive influence of social media, we must remember that our voice carries weight, even in the tumultuous tween years. Our daughters might roll their eyes or pretend not to listen, but trust me, they hear us and I’m here to help you. Plus, I’ve created some Printable TikTok Conversation Starters to help you know what to say >>>HERE!

Create your own TikTok account.

Some moms have their own TikTok accounts and try to follow the same influencers or at least the same hashtags as their daughters. This can be an easy and interesting way to talk about and share what we’re seeing and who we’re following. It also allows our teens to teach us about TikTok, hashtags, influencers, etc., which in turn empowers our girls. However we choose to do it, it’s crucial to understand who our girls are following and how it aligns with our family values and budget constraints, especially when it comes to pricey makeup.

Talk about how social media can sometimes create unrealistic beauty standards.

Influencers on TikTok may convey the notion that a specific product is necessary to achieve a certain appearance, yet it’s important for our daughters to recognize that beauty transcends superficial standards and embraces diverse shapes, sizes, and budgets. We want our daughters to know that our worth isn’t determined by our outward appearance or the possession of specific products; rather, it’s a reflection of our character and our unique value as individuals. It can be impactful to share personal experiences and acknowledge moments when we’ve been tempted to believe that a particular product showcased in our feed holds the key to self-assurance (wrinkle creams, anyone?!), recognizing instead the importance of self-acceptance and authenticity.

You might say something like, “Social media influencers often promote unrealistic beauty standards. How do you feel about these ideals portrayed online? What are some ways we can appreciate our natural beauty without feeling pressured to conform?”

Remind them about their worth and value. You might say something like, “Remember, you’re in control of your choices, not the influencers or trends on TikTok. Your worth isn’t determined by the makeup you own or how closely you follow beauty standards. I’m here to support you in making decisions that make you feel confident and happy.”

Help your daughter understand how TikTok’s algorithm works.

Ask your daughter if she is aware of how algorithms work. Algorithms tailor content based on user interactions. Discuss the implications of algorithmic bias and the importance of diversifying their feed to avoid being stuck in echo chambers.

Teach your daughter to think critically about what she sees and hears.

Teach your child to think critically about the content they see on TikTok, including fact-checking information, identifying misinformation or harmful content, and considering different perspectives before forming opinions.

Encouraging self-expression is important, but we also need to teach our daughters to distinguish between genuine experimentation and blindly following trends. Drawing from our own experiences, we can offer guidance and wisdom to help them navigate this complex landscape.

As technology evolves and social media influence continues to shift, we can help our daughters cultivate a deep appreciation for themselves and their unique qualities. Amidst the allure of TikTok trends and the pervasive influence of online culture, our role as moms is irreplaceable. Our daughters need us to keep the lines of communication open, have ongoing conversations, and provide unwavering support with an understanding of the culture they live in. With empathy, understanding, and a steadfast commitment to authenticity, we can stand by our daughters’ sides as they navigate the ever-changing world of beauty trends and social media, ensuring they remain true to themselves every step of the way.

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