Instagram. Since its inception in 2010, it has been steadily climbing up the ranks in popularity among Millennials. In fact, the DailyInfographic recently reported that Instagram has become the platform for having the most influence on shopping habits, surpassing that of Facebook and Pinterest. And riding high on the success of Instagram are KID INFLUENCERS, who command the attention of thousands to millions of followers with their cheeky smiles, beautiful faces, and ‘die-die’ must-have clothes and toys.
Case in point, the 3-year-old Stauffer twins ( @kcstauffer) of the USA have a massive following of 3 million subscribers while 7-year-old Coco (@coco_pinkprincess) from Tokyo has around 400k followers lapping up her fashion style. These kids are but a few of those who rake in hundreds to thousands of dollars for just ONE Instagram post. And most of the lucrative toys, clothes, backdrops, and furniture are sponsored by giant companies. They get to play and earn money at the same time?! Life is so unfair.
We cannot deny the power of these kid influencers on Instagram, and we definitely cannot undermine the masterminds behind their fame; THEIR PARENTS. These millennial parents claim that their kids enjoy all the attention, apparels and toys. But is this just a façade or are the kids truly happy with all the exposure?
Many are concerned about the children’s well being. Sheila James ( author of ‘The 1999 Law’ that overhauled California’s labor protections for child performers) states that “It is not play if you’re making money off it.” Even more concerning is that recently, Machelle Hobson, famous for her YouTube channel ( Fantastic Adventures) and Instagram pages was recently arrested for having abused her adopted kids. If they did not perform in front of the camera as instructed, they would be subjected to pepper spray and locked up in a room with no food and drinks.
Still, most of the kid Influencer parents have stood up against the accusations, insisting that they never force their children for photoshoots if they don’t feel like it. Most point out that their children are too young to understand what is actually going on and instead, are just having fun. Bee Fisher, mom to 3 insta famous kids candidly admitted that she would resort to bribery with lollipops to get her kids to pose for sponsored photos.
Now, the question is, would YOU parade your child on Instagram to the views of strangers worldwide? Would the thought of earning extra cash for their future be tempting to you? Would fame get to your head? They, the Gen Z will grow up having their lives documented for all the world to see. And when they grow up, will they be happy with this? So many questions and so little answers…….