My daughter shared an article with me that she thought I’d find interesting for my blog. It’s from Teen Vogue — which she said is not behind a paywall — and has more interesting articles than fashion like “What’s hot for summer.”
In “Influencer Parents and The Kids Who Had Their Childhood Made Into Content” by FORTESA LATIFI, I learned about parents who cashed in on their kids on social media.
Here’s an excerpt:
Claire, whose name has been changed to protect her privacy, has never known a life that doesn’t include a camera being pointed in her direction. The first time she went viral, she was a toddler. When the family’s channel started to rake in the views, Claire says both her parents left their jobs because the revenue from the YouTube channel was enough to support the family and to land them a nicer house and new car. “That’s not fair that I have to support everyone,” she said. “I try not to be resentful but I kind of [am].” Once, she told her dad she didn’t want to do YouTube videos anymore and he told her they would have to move out of their house and her parents would have to go back to work, leaving no money for “nice things.”
When the family is together, the YouTube channel is what they talk about. Claire says her father has told her he may be her father, but he’s also her boss. “It’s a lot of pressure,” she said. When Claire turns 18 and can move out on her own, she’s considering going no-contact with her parents. Once she doesn’t live with them anymore, she plans to speak out publicly about being the star of a YouTube channel. She’ll even use her real name. Claire wants people to know how her childhood was overshadowed by social media stardom that she didn’t choose. And she wants her parents to know: “nothing they do now is going to take back the years of work I had to put in.”https://www.teenvogue.com/story/influencer-parents-children-social-media-impact
It would be easy to judge these parents as monsters. But, I am thankful Instagram and TikTok did NOT exist when my kids were young. Wait, I’ll retract my statement and call it exploitation of children. I guess that’s being judgmental, right?
I had Facebook when my kids were growing up and my pages were an embarrassing brag-site of my amazing, marvelous kids! It’s nauseating to look back on.
As my daughter got older, her friends would bully or tease her about awkward tween years’ photos I posted. She asked me to NOT post anything about her without permission. I mostly followed her wishes. Maybe slipping up a few times.
Although I look negatively at parents who use their children as cash cows, like I said, I’m glad it wasn’t something I had an option to do. Unlike TV and movie parents, there are no protections for kids who are content on their parents’ social media sites. The article goes into detail about how contracts with TV and movies have protections for children and they get money put into a trust.
By the way, I also didn’t think it was right for swim parents to put pressure on their swim kids to earn college scholarships. I had a weekly column about swim parenting HERE. Too much pressure, period. However, if a scholarship did happen, that’s icing on the cake of all the valuable lessons and friendships gained through sports.
I look at the harm social media has done to our kids who grew up with it. Suicide, depression, anxiety and eating disorders are running rampant. I wonder how these teens are doing who were used as influencers since toddlerhood?
I have a weekly zoom call where we talk about all sorts of current subjects. We are a variety of ages, religions and a spectrum of political persuasions. One of the topics we’ll talk about next week is social media and our youth. Here’s A LINK to a Surgeon General’s Advisory from the Department of Health and Human Services that I received from the group yesterday. In the article is a pdf from the Surgeon General.
What thoughts do you have about parents using kids as influencers on social media? What thoughts do you have about the affects of social media on our youth?