Miami-based therapist Jacqueline Ravelo was in a session with one of her clients, a young teenager, when he brought up Andrew Tate. The young man wanted to know what Ravelo thought of Tate.
Never heard the name Andrew Tate before? Well, if your teen spends time on the internet or social media, chances are Tate is on their radar. The 36-year-old former kickboxer amassed a huge following online, including many young men, by spewing disturbing and misogynistic remarks. A self-proclaimed life coach, Tate has been banned from most social media platforms. His Twitter account, which has 4.7 million followers, was restored when Elon Musk took over the business.
Tate once tweeted that women should take “some responsibility” for being sexually assaulted. Born in the US, but raised in England, the influencer also claimed in a now-deleted video that he moved to Romania in response to the #MeToo movement due to the country’s more lax rape laws. Yet it was Romanian officials who arrested Tate and his brother in December; the couple are in the midst of detention in connection with allegations of human trafficking and rape. Crowds of his supporters in Greece – again, mostly teenagers – marched through the streets this month chanting for Tate’s release.
As news of Tate’s legal troubles make international headlines, parents, educators and therapists around the world are starting to notice the impact the influencer is having on young people, and there’s reason to be concerned. worry. Educators in England are taking an active role in tackling this problem, with lessons being embedded in some schools to demonstrate how harmful Tate’s views are.
“Some parents have asked to speak to me after the sessions, and they’re asking, ‘What do we do? ‘” Ravelo told Yahoo Life. “They heard his message and they don’t like what he says. They don’t want their sons to follow his beliefs.
But why are so many teens following this guy for posting such inflammatory messages?
“He promotes this flashy lifestyle that a lot of young people see and want,” says Courtney Conley, a Maryland-based therapist and wellness expert who specializes in helping young people. “Kids think ‘what can I do to get this and get this lifestyle? “”
Many of Tate’s videos and images feature him surrounded by beautiful girls, fancy cars, and sought-after locations.
“Young people are in a developmental stage, and when they see things online, they don’t always think about it and question it or consider it from multiple perspectives,” Conley says. “They’re more likely to take it as the right point of view and not just one person’s point of view.”
Even if your teen has never mentioned Tate to you, Conley suggests being proactive and raising the issue. Ask your child if he’s heard of Tate and see what he thinks of his perspective.
“Listen to understand before listening to respond,” advises Conley. “Give them space to talk about their thoughts and feelings before launching in with your own thoughts because if you’re not listening, that’s the quickest way to shut the kids up.”
While Tate may not have found an audience in your child, there are plenty of other internet trolls spreading harmful messages and gaining followers on what Conley calls “difficult online streets.”
This is especially tricky given that the internet is where many teens get a lot of their information. Last year, the Pew Research Center reported that 46% of teens say they use the internet “almost constantly.”
Joe Gagliese, CEO and co-founder of influencer agency Viral Nation, said social media algorithms favor extreme or problematic content.
“Just like mainstream news, it just gets more eyeballs,” Gagliese told Yahoo Life. “As a result, teens may not be watching the most positive or age-appropriate content, and they may develop bad habits, bad behaviors and bad ideas.”
With his own clients who admire Tate, Ravelo likes to point out discrepancies with his statements, objectively pointing out what’s wrong. It could involve something as simple as a quick internet search to discredit Tate’s information.
Ravelo warns that parents need to be delicate in their approach because if you come across as critical and aggressive, your child could shut down and go further down the rabbit hole. Developing empathy is another way to reach a teenager.
“The reason Tate is so successful is because he dehumanizes women and people,” Ravelo says. “That resonates a lot with guys who are having a hard time being popular or having a girlfriend. Tell them, ‘You have sisters, how would you feel if someone talked to your sister like that? Would you agree? Would you beat that person?”
She says it’s usually when she sees a light bulb go out at her clients. Either way, keep the conversations going. Ask what a woman should do to deserve abuse, or not to have a job, or to earn her own money. Keep the empathy questions coming until you see a shift in beliefs.
“I’ve noticed an increase in the last two years of people who have been very controversial and their platform is polarizing people,” Ravelo said. “People like Andrew Tate are extremely dangerous because of what he stands for, and he has the ability to influence a whole generation of young boys. It’s super scary.
Well-being, parenthood, body image and more: discover the who behind the whoo with the Yahoo Life newsletter. register here.