COMMENT:

Being paid thousands of dollars to post a pretty picture might seem a dream job for teens.

In fact, as we report today, 17 per cent of 11 to 16-year-olds see being an influencer as their ultimate job, beating lawyers and teachers. Fourteen per cent aspire to be a YouTuber.

So should parents let their kids forego university for a full-time career on Instagram?

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What happens when, 10 years from now, the climate changes and influencing as a career
path falls into a void?

Uneducated and unqualified, what will your child do?

Or, what if influencing becomes more popular and the next wave of bright young things takes their place?

Teens also need to know their digital footprint stays with them for life. As history tells us, society will have moved on so much that what they post online at 15 won't still be relevant when they are 35. And they're often not likely to have the same views.

We only have to look at a recent slew of old celebrity tweets, uncovering views they are now so ashamed of.

The current climate's audience don't want to hear jokes at a minority group's expense.

And aspiring influencers may not take into account mental health problems associated with social media use and the constant need for likes and attention, which can alienate friends and family.

They're often not aware of the hard work behind a single photo and the need to be business savvy enough to negotiate the terms of a deal.

If they outsource the admin to an agency, they can expect them to take a cut of up to 50 per cent — making it financially tenable for only those with a significant enough following.

While the influencing industry is still finding its feet in New Zealand, Netsafe offers general advice for parents when it comes to their child's social media use including a user's guide to apps like Instagram and tips on how to educate them on their use.

Only time will tell if the current generation of influencers will affect university numbers.