Social Media

The Confusing Mixed Messages Of Their Online Influencers

Delaney Ruston, MD
August 3, 2021
Teen influencer filming herself

One day Tessa came charging into my office with her laptop and said, “Mom, look at this video!”

It was a video titled “I hate my life” by a YouTuber named Luna Montana. 

Tessa explained that Luna is a popular YouTuber, and this particular video was of Luna in tears because she was really questioning her whole online life. What struck Tessa was that this is not that common for YouTubers to do. Yes, they can share personal information and such, but rarely do they break down and express their ambivalence of being an influencer. 

I started watching the video. Luna is in sweats, no makeup, hair in a messy bun, she talks into the camera and at times cries. Here of some examples of what Luna says:

“It’s so dark for me to make idealized versions of myself just so people can praise that version of me. How am I supposed to love my actual real self?”
“I am showing my body all the time, showing provocative content all the time, it is not me, it’s just a cry for attention.”
“I’m making videos of me buying fashion … it’s so useless.”
“I’m becoming the girl I didn’t want to be.”


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After watching the video, I asked Tessa if I could see what Luna usually is like on social media, and she showed me her Instagram feed. My husband was in the room, and we both glanced over to see one gorgeous shot after another, and some were fairly suggestive, like one where she’s wearing lingerie.

One phrase just kept coming into my mind while seeing all this, “Mixed messages, truly mixed messages.” I thought of the millions of young girls growing up with a steady stream of YouTube videos with influencers giving so many mixed messages. On the one hand, it is great that Luna is sharing that she is so conflicted about what she is doing. On the other hand, how would an 11-year-old girl reconcile Luna’s countless videos showing her having so much fun, hundreds of glamorous photos, and videos of shopping sprees?

Life is full of contradictions, and our kids try to make sense of them every day. What is their take on the YouTubers they watch? On Luna’s video?

From my perspective, I do appreciate that by making the video, Luna is giving her viewers a fuller perspective of a YouTuber’s complicated relationship with their life. It is not all glam all the time, and negative self-talk is a reality no matter how glam someone looks. 

Also, in the video, Luna talks about how she is dealing with intense emotions and getting support from a therapist — I am glad that she is normalizing getting help from a therapist.

Another aspect of Luna’s video worth discussing is how each of us decides what feels authentic and what feels more crafted. YouTubers use frequent jump cuts in their editing. Does this kind of editing make us wonder how much is spontaneous and sincere vs. more intentionally sculpted? From my perspective, I experienced real empathy when I watched her video — she seems to be truly struggling, and my heart goes out to her. 

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Sharing Luna’s “I hate my life” video with your kids can be a way to bring up the topic of all the complex messages, direct and indirect, that viewers get when watching influencers.  (By the way, it’s a long video and by no means do you have to watch the whole thing to get a good conversation going.) And a final note: be prepared that Luna’s video brings up a lot about body image that is a painful reminder of this very charged topic and merits more time in a later Tech Talk Tuesdays blog post.

Ideas to get the conversation started:

  1. What are everyone’s reactions to Luna’s video (or some other YouTuber’s video)?
  2. Have you seen other YouTubers do big reveals like this?
  3. Who in our home follows YouTubers or just watches whatever YouTube offers up?
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Social Media

The Confusing Mixed Messages Of Their Online Influencers

Delaney Ruston, MD
August 3, 2021
Teen influencer filming herself

One day Tessa came charging into my office with her laptop and said, “Mom, look at this video!”

It was a video titled “I hate my life” by a YouTuber named Luna Montana. 

Tessa explained that Luna is a popular YouTuber, and this particular video was of Luna in tears because she was really questioning her whole online life. What struck Tessa was that this is not that common for YouTubers to do. Yes, they can share personal information and such, but rarely do they break down and express their ambivalence of being an influencer. 

I started watching the video. Luna is in sweats, no makeup, hair in a messy bun, she talks into the camera and at times cries. Here of some examples of what Luna says:

“It’s so dark for me to make idealized versions of myself just so people can praise that version of me. How am I supposed to love my actual real self?”
“I am showing my body all the time, showing provocative content all the time, it is not me, it’s just a cry for attention.”
“I’m making videos of me buying fashion … it’s so useless.”
“I’m becoming the girl I didn’t want to be.”


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