A growing number of adolescents now want to be internet famous when they grow up after seeing a seemingly endless parade of social media influencers rake in millions of dollars while doing little more than posting content online.
For many kids, such fame came before they became adults — and while that might sound like a dream come true, many of their parents wish it hadn’t happened.
Some people carefully create an online image before devoting time and money to the task of cultivating an engaged audience. Others who achieve social media prominence have the spotlight thrust upon them. That seemed to be the case for Kodye Elyse and her family.
She said that she was never all that popular on social media and didn’t see the harm in highlighting her family — including her kids — in TikTok posts.
When one went viral, however, a stream of disturbing comments flowed in that revolved around the young girl’s appearance. “I made the choice that day,” Elyse said. “I removed every video of them. I wiped them from the internet.”
How to protect your kids
Although many of us post seemingly innocuous images and videos of our kids so friends and family members can share on special occasions, it’s important to be realistic about the fact that such content can make its way to some real creeps.
You could always take a page out of celebrities’ playbooks and blur or otherwise remove your kids' faces from images you share online. After all, your children aren’t able to fully consent for their likenesses to be shared far and wide online.
Child psychologist Lindsey Cooley said that the kids of social media influencers can have many of the same long-term issues associated with child stars.