There are those who post photos of cats, those who post the outfit of the day, those who posts memories from his vacation, others, food they love, the fantastic places they’ve been, photos with friends... and so on. The content published on social networks every day tell the many stories of our lives. Among them we also find entire families who post about their daily lives.
But, what drives a family to incorporate social media so much into their lives?
No one teaches you how to be a parent, and word of mouth has always had its place among experienced parents and new parents alike. The main difference with the arrival of social media is that instead of just doing it after school or at family dinners, today these conversations also take place online, reaching a much wider audience.
So you go from simply sharing everyday life to a real job in which all the members of the family are involved.
There are those who do it simply because they like to; those who see, in this hobby, an alternative method to the old, cumbersome, and now archaic albums of photographs to leave a relic behind for their children; but there too those who try are trying to make a living doing this and those who are looking for fame and success.
According to Business Insider Intelligence estimates, based on Mediakix data, the influencer marketing industry is on track to reach a value of up to $15 billion by 2022, compared to $8 billion in 2019.
There are influencers specialized in countless sectors such as fashion, food, and games just to name a few, who are hired by well-known brands to promote their products. Among these, we have already the category of “influencer families”. Some family influencers have become so famous that they have captured the attention of companies not only in the children's sector (or essentially related to family needs) but also in the wellness and fashion industries as well as others.
From vlogs on YouTube to images on Instagram or lip sinc videos on TikTok: the formats vary and adapt to the peculiarities of each platform. We are talking about content that involves young children, through direct or indirect contact, because their parents use these sites and occasionally involve their children, leading them to become "little reality stars of the internet." Stories, posts, video clips are presented as done in a kind of spontaneous and amateurish way, but actually they require a considerable amount of preparation, filming and edition work.
When talking about "influencer families," there is one question in particular that arises almost immediately: is it right to show your children online?
In this regard, there is opposing views: those who see nothing wrong with it and those who compare the excessive exposure of children to the Internet to the exploitation of child labor.
Initially with the rise of the first "influencer moms and dads," this practice was not met with much approval. Most parents despised those who, so nonchalantly, did not take the privacy and safety of their loved ones into consideration at all. Now that social media is part of our everyday life and this phenomenon is increasingly widespread, public opinion is softening, leaving room for less criticism and more emulation. In fact, more and more adults post photos of their children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews on their social profiles.
A survey conducted by McAfee in 2018 showed that only less than half of the survey respondents actually asked permission from their children before posting their images on social media, despite the fact that most of them agree that such platforms are dangerous for minors.
If you think about it, there are at least two categories of parents among the Facebook or Instagram friends: those who cover their children's faces with cute heart emojis, and those who publish from the photo of the baby in mom's belly to their first solid meal.
Then, so far there is no social consensus in the matter of minors on the Internet. What we know is that, despite the limits set by the various platforms’ policies, the age at which children make their firs social media profile is getting lower and lower. Already around 10-12 years of age, children start to create profiles online, and this kind of activity is directly proportional to a decline in happiness and the simultaneous increase in the risk of addiction to social networks.
There is a fact to be considered: this "using" children as the main means to attract fame and success (and consequently also benefit financially) is a phenomenon that goes back before even Internet and social networks existed.
Who has never heard of beauty contests intended for a much younger age than it is appropriated for? Children were and are thrown into these shows, often and willingly "modified" and used in competitions that border on exploitation and commodification of a denied childhood; these parents are willing to do anything to see them win a crown, and the young minds and eyes of these children means nothing to them. Yet these kids will be happy because, like mirrors, they will reflect the happiness of those who wanted them to win. So this is nothing new.
Yes, we have always tried to keep up with the times, a continuous race against time in order to not miss opportunities that might be difficult to find in the future. However, one should not be greedy and irresponsible: First, because an extra like on a social media platform or a crown placed on the windowsill, does not benefit the child's education in any way; in fact, it does quite the opposite. Then, because it could mislead the child, causing him to constantly try to be perfect, which is simply impossible. When you smile in a photo, it does not necessarily mean you are happy.