In a recent study of 13-17 year olds, teens’ interests in luxury brands were heavily influenced by what they saw on social media. This was true for both boys and girls, and the age at which teens were most susceptible to influence was 15 years old. This is notable because teens construct their identities through social comparison and luxury brands become part of what they are comparing. Comparison among their peers and with social media influencers can have an impact on how teens view themselves and their value.
Here are some tips for bringing this up in everyday conversations with the teens you care about:
- Tell your teens what you love about them that has nothing to do with their appearance or possessions: the way they make their friends feel good, the enthusiasm they have for their activities, how helpful they are, or their creativity.
- When they’re in the car with you scrolling on social media, show genuine curiosity for what they see and what makes it funny or interesting. Talk about the themes or lifestyles portrayed and whether they are realistic for normal daily life.
- If your teen has a job, talk often about planning how their money is spent. Talk about how you plan your spending and be specific about how much certain items cost compared to other items. Will the money help foster important relationships or lead to progress toward important goals?