Child influencers balance popularity and privacy

Child influencers balance popularity and privacy

Details of their personal lives are shared with thousands of followers

Parents, especially first-timers, love talking about their children. And with the rise of social media, they are not just sharing their kid’s latest milestone with close friends and family, but the entire world. This trend of sharing children’s lives extensively on social media has been dubbed as ‘sharenting’. With influencer culture at an all-time high, children on online platforms even end up becoming child influencers. 

Psychologist Shreya Chatterjee compares kid influencers to child stars. “Miley Cyrus is an example of what happens when kids are pushed into a certain role when they’re younger. When they’re not able to express who they are really, they become rebellious.” 

According to her, the biggest danger of putting your child’s life on social media is that they have no choice in the same. She adds that these pictures could surface later in life and cause the child to be bullied. “Parents should always put themselves in their kid’s shoes and see if they would be comfortable having such a photo of themselves online,” she adds. 

Blogger Anita George, who had a substantial following on Instagram, decided to document her pregnancy and subsequently, the life of her child. Now, her daughter Rahael is two years old and Anita’s Instagram account has amassed over one lakh followers, many of whom are “fans” of her daughter.  
“I chose to share my story because I struggled with getting pregnant due to PCOS and thyroid. I wanted to show others on a similar same journey that the diagnosis doesn’t automatically equate to infertility,” she says. 

She is very conscious about what she posts. Once Anita posted a video of her yelling at her daughter when she did something wrong. “I got a message from a psychologist who said that I should not be berating her the way I did, and recommended a better method. I immediately took down the video as I didn’t want to send across a wrong message to my followers,” she says. 

She adds that she might not have been this vigilant if her profile was a private one. She is also very careful in picking the brands she collaborates with. “I get messages every other day from brands, asking if they can send things for my daughter, I only say yes after checking their credibility multiple times,” she says. 

There are rarely any negative comments. “I think watching a child is a stress buster and brings so much positive energy,” she adds.

When asked about the implications, she says that her posts revolve around parenting tips and tricks and the fact that her daughter is a ‘miracle baby’. 

Shweta Reddy, program officer at the Centre for Internet and Society, says that apart from possible effects on mental health, pictures posted of children can live on the internet forever in the absence of adequate data protection regulations. Parents have an added layer of responsibility while posting these pictures as they are the adults, she explains. 

Data protection regulations usually require organisations to take additional steps prior to collecting personal data of children. These added layers of scrutiny will be moot if parents fail to understand the repercussions of disclosure of personal data of their kids online. 

“Individual rights such as the right to erasure in the draft Indian law can assist children in deleting their information later on in their life,” she adds. 

Paedophilia online

Posting children’s pictures online can be dangerous due to lurking predators. Shweta says that YouTube decided to suspend their comments section on videos of minors after many incidents where paedophiles were posting lewd comments. “Not uploading pictures and videos of your children is the best practice. But if you do upload them, restricting access to the pictures and disabling location tagging are the basic steps one can follow,” she says. 

Child stars on YouTube
Kids prefer YouTube over Instagram. From toy reviews to make-up videos, the platform is full of young stars who rake in big bucks. In fact, the platform’s biggest earner is toy reviewer Ryan Kaji. The eight-year-old star has a net worth of 2.6 crore dollars.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)