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Should we blame influencers for online harm?

03rd - 10th February 2023

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Total votes


5-11 votes


11-16+ votes

To mark Safer Internet Day on 7th February 2023, our voters explored the nature and purpose of influencer culture online. They discussed how influencers make money through advertising and social media and the effects this can have on the young people who consume their content. Finally, they decided whether influencers are responsible for negative online repercussions or if online harm is outside their level of control.


"Influencers are not responsible for our safety because it isn't their job to keep us safe. We should be able to make safe decisions ourselves or with the help of parents and carers.”


"Influencers can try to get people to buy things, or do things, but people have their own minds and make their own decisions so we can't blame the influencers.”


“We shouldn't blame them completely for online harm as they [are] just following trends however we shouldn't forget the harm they are causing to young followers and should be making them aware of their influential power they have especially on young children and teens."

45% of those aged 5-7 said the internet makes us want to copy others.

  • Our youngest group of voters were considering whether the internet makes them want to copy others.
  • The majority, at 55%, voted 'No' to this question.
46% of voters aged 7-11 think influencers are responsible for our online safety

  • Those aged 7-11 were discussing whether influencers are responsible for our online safety.
  • 54% voted 'No', making it quite a close cut result.
72% of those aged 11-16 believe influencers are not to blame for online harm

  • Our 11+ vote was much more decisive this week, with 72% voting 'No' to the question: "Should we blame influencers for online harm?"
79% of those aged 7+ said they have been influenced to buy something online.

  • For this VoteTopic, we provided some additional questions for our voters to consider. These were optional questions offered to our voters aged 7+.
  • The first of these was: "Have you been influenced to want to buy something?"
  • Interestingly, 79% voted 'Yes', which differs to our 5-7 result for a similar question. This suggests the internet's influence on us gets stronger as we get older.
42% voted that they are most influenced by their friends. This was more so than celebrities, family, influencers and teachers.

  • The second of our additional questions was: "Who are you most influenced by?"
  • Voters could choose from the options, 'Celebrities', 'Family', 'Friends', 'Influencers' and 'Teachers'.
  • Friends received the most votes, followed relatively closely by Family at 39%.
63% voted that they are responsible for their own online safety more than anyone else.

  • The final additional question this week was: "Who is most responsible for your online safety?"
  • The vote swung heavily towards 'You', meaning we are responsible for our own safety online.
  • The other options were, 'Government', 'Influencers', 'Parents/Carers', 'Schools & Colleges' and 'Social Media Companies.'