“Mom! Can we go to Starbucks?” “Can I get this moisturizer from Drunk Elephant? It’s only $100.”  “For Christmas, I want Lululemon.”  


Would you believe it if someone told you tweens around the U.S. are saying things just like this? If not, then think again. Across the country, young girls between the ages of 9-12 are requesting Christmas gifts of skincare products, Apple watches, and brand name makeup.

What Parents Are Saying

Many parents are coming onto TikTok and sharing their daughters’ outlandish Christmas lists. One of those parents is  Keya James, who complained about her daughter’s wishes of Lululemon and Sephora gift cards.    

“She thinks I’m rich,” said James.

However, it’s not that young girls collectively decided to want skincare, make-up, and other luxuries this year. The real one to blame is social media.   

@cocobelle2000 #greenscreen #over40mom ♬ Elf - Main Theme - Geek Music

Why Is This Happening?

If you peek inside the average middle school classroom before the teacher begins their lesson, the picture everywhere is pretty much the same: AirPods in, and kids hunched over looking at their phones. Screen time takes up “4-6 hours” of the average tween’s day, according to the AACAP. Most of that time will be spent on various social media platforms, including TikTok, Instagram, or X (formerly known as Twitter).  

Countless studies, including the Mental Health Foundation, have shown that social media has a negative effect on young people, with “54% of girls” anxious about their “appearance [due to] images on social media.” Social media is being introduced to kids younger and younger, as phones are more accessible than ever before, with “72 percent of 12-year-olds” having phones, says Common Sense Media.    


These young girls are exposed daily to people who not only carefully pick and edit all of their photos and videos, but also receive plastic surgery to enhance their features. It’s no wonder that young girls want to start experimenting with make-up early.    

A decade ago, kids would barely wear sunscreen at the beach, even when begged to. Now because of TikTok, girls fear if they don’t start a skincare routine immediately, they’ll be wrinkled beyond hope by the time they are in their thirties. But that’s not the only problem.   

In the past, when not every single person was on the internet 24/7, young girls who wanted to learn about make-up or skincare had to either find a magazine about it or actually search for it on the internet. Kids channels on TV wouldn’t show make-up advertisements, they played toy commercials. Adult hobbies and products were just marketed towards adults. TikTok has changed that.   

The Problem with TikTok

It is a universal truth that if someone isn’t buying a service, then they are the product. Kids look at TikTok for roughly two hours a day, says the Business Insider. During these two hours, they are being advertised to from all directions. Kids are constantly exposing themselves to content that was previously inaccessible, such as Get-Ready-With-Me videos (GRWMs) that are extremely popular with girls.

These videos showcase a flawlessly beautiful person putting on make-up, and advertising the expensive products sent to them by brands to show to their audience. Commercials are intended to make the viewer want what they don’t have and develop feelings of inadequacy if they don’t have it. Sometimes, these videos will even make up new flaws for people to care about, just to sell a product. 


As a Zoomer/Gen-Zer, or the generation that is on TikTok the most, I’ve also felt insecure after watching these constant advertisements. Before TikTok, I never cared about how large my pores were, or if I had hip-dips (I still don’t know what those are, but I am still worried about them). My friends my age have also battled with body-image issues, and I can’t imagine growing up in a world where that’s all the kids know. Children are more susceptible to insecurity, so this is definitely one of the main causes of the skincare-craze, along with make-up tutorials unsuitable for adolescents. 

The main flaw of TikTok for kids is this: People aren’t making content just for kids. There is no app just for kids to use, like a theoretical “KidsTok,” so children are constantly consuming content for adults. In turn, that adult content is consuming them.  

So, if you see Gen-Alpha girls asking for age-inappropriate gifts this year, remember that it’s not their fault for trying to keep up with a world that pushes them to grow up too fast. 


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