Written evidence submitted by Safe Schools Alliance UK



Safe Schools Alliance UK represents parents, teachers and health professionals who are concerned that the safeguarding of children is being disregarded by organisations pushing a political agenda.  We seek to uphold safeguarding and the correct interpretation of the Equality Act in UK schools. 


Safe Schools Alliance would define an ‘influencer’ as an individual who has the ability to affect others in a variety of ways, be it influencing their purchasing habits, lifestyle choices or political or other opinions. They can shift public perceptions and morality as well as having economic impact.


We would define ‘influencer culture’ as the fact that people, particularly children, now aspire to being ‘influencers’. We can see this in children now wishing to be ‘insta famous’. The phenomenal success of individuals such as Justin Beiber, James Charles, Charli D'Amelio and Addison Rae can lead children to believe that the route to fame, fortune and happiness is to be found online via views, likes and followers.  This culture is so insidious children feel pressured to endorse the latest cause, be that extreme political groups, publishing their pronouns or stating their public support for people in the news or risking being “cancelled” or accused of not caring.  This has a damaging contagious effect.  Children are especially susceptible as they haven’t developed the ability to think critically yet, as well as being particularly vulnerable to peer pressure. 


The pursuit of this fame has lead to a disregard for safeguarding as children and their parents post personal photos, content and details publicly in an effort to generate interest in their ‘brand’.  Many subcultures have developed online, each having their own celebrities. This can be seen most strikingly in trans, enby and other gender online communities. Individuals such as Alex Bertie have emerged as influencers, documenting their journeys, transition and experience with ‘T’ (testosterone). These YouTube accounts have vast followers of young teenage girls looking for a purpose and place in an ever changing and increasingly misogynistic world. You only need to look at the hashtags on Instagram to see how this phenomenon has spread. #FtM (female to male) alone has 4 million public posts, before you even look at associated hashtags such as #topsurgery #topsurgerypostop #topsurgeryfund and many more. (Top surgery is a euphemism for a bilateral mastectomy).  There is money to be made here for ‘healthcare’ providers such as https://www.gendergp.com/podcasts/ and many in the third sector such as https://mermaidsuk.org.uk/digifest2020/ .  Trans lobby groups recruit and use influencers to increase the reach of their pro-transitioning message to children and young people. 


‘Insta famous’ is a modern concept; influencers and influencer culture have undoubtedly been driven by the internet, and culture would be very different were much of life not lived online. Coveting and copying the fashions of others pre-dates the modern ‘sleb culture’. The underlying psychology is not new; ‘it girls’, famous for being famous and celebrity culture all pre-date the internet, but the internet now ensures that we are bombarded with this culture, practically every waking hour from early childhood.