Toddler Influencers of Instagram: Are Their Mothers Taking it too Far?
Toddlers dressed as teenagers are becoming social media stars, but are their moms positioning their tots as influencers so they can live vicariously through their success?
Moms with dreams of achieving social media star status have taken to Instagram – but instead of posting photos of themselves, they’re using their toddlers as content. However, these are no “ordinary” toddlers. They’re young children being positioned as fashion models, sporting hair curls that probably took an hour to achieve and clothes that adults would wear. Are these moms taking it too far? I think so.
I first started following Little Miss Mia on Instagram because she modeled t-shirts from an Etsy-based kid’s clothing company that I love. My first impression was that Mia was an adorable little girl and I was inspired to find equally as cute outfits for my two-year-old daughter. But as time progressed, I realized that Mia sometimes dressed better than me! And her hair was always done to perfection. It’s not natural for a young girl who might not even be in kindergarten to have Kardashian-styled salon curls.
Today, Mia has a booking agent and 216,000 followers on Instagram. Her mom is her manager. She poses in photos worthy of appearing in Bazaar magazine. Yes, Mia looks like a high fashion model. But she doesn’t really look like a child. And she’s not the only kid star like this on social media.
There’s Taylen’s mom, who has turned her daughters Taylen (age 3) and Aleia (age 1) into Instagram celebrities through her posts. Then there’s Elle and her mom Linda (who post about “fashion, food and fun”), three-year old Laerta who has a trendy wardrobe and “sassy pout”, and the sons of Collette Wixom from www.ministylehacker.com, who set out to prove “you don’t have to be rich to have style,” just to name a few.
I want to see kids being kids, not being forced to pose as hipster adults. Take one photo from Mini Style Hacker ,for example. There’s a little boy sitting by the fireplace wearing oversized black spectacles and holding a coffee mug. He’s way more Brooklyn than little boy.
Such staged photos may be cute when they are random and outside the normal activities of a child’s daily life—not when taking these photos is the parent-instilled focus of a kid’s life. I can’t help but feel the tots are being exploited, even if they enjoy saying cheese. (Oh wait, they probably are told to pout their lips, not smile.) Are these moms living vicariously through their kids?
Mommy bloggers have gotten stale. The public has caught on to their strategy of accepting free products and cash in exchange for blog posts. Therefore, parents had to figure out another way to get attention and free goods by leveraging social media. Unfortunately, these “influencers” aren’t inspiring children to grow, learn and dream. They’re encouraging superficiality. Parents always say their kids are growing up too fast and they wish they could freeze time back to when they where babies. So why push them to be teenagers before some are even potty-trained? Is Internet fame that important?