The problem with celebrity baby Instagram accounts, like the one for True Thompson
True Thompson is only five days old, but her Instagram account already boasts 160,000 followers.
On Monday, Kris Jenner announced the arrival of Khloé Kardashian and Tristan Thompson’s baby girl (born Thursday, weighing 6 pounds, 13 ounces and measuring 21 inches long) by sharing her Instagram handle @True.
“I’m so excited to welcome my precious little granddaughter True!!!” read the matriarch’s caption. “FUN FACT… my Grandfather’s name on my Dad’s side was True Otis Houghton….my Dad’s name was Robert True Houghton…so i am so excited Khloe named her daughter True!!!”
I’m so excited to welcome my precious little granddaughter True!!! FUN FACT… my Grandfather’s name on my Dad’s side was True Otis Houghton….my Dad’s name was Robert True Houghton…so i am so excited Khloe named her daughter True!!! #lovebug #familytradition #family @true
A post shared by Kris Jenner (@krisjenner) on Apr 16, 2018 at 1:45pm PDT
So far, there are no photos of True posted on the account. However, Khloé Instagrammed a shot of her home filled with pink balloons and the message: “Our little girl, True Thompson, has completely stolen our hearts and we are overwhelmed with LOVE. Such a blessing to welcome this angel into the family! Mommy and Daddy loooooove you True!”
True is the second Kardashian-Jenner baby to have a social media presence, following Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna’s 1-year-old daughter Dream, who has more than 900,000 Instagram followers. True also joins a shortlist of celebrity babies who have secured Instagram followers — Serena Williams and Alex Ohanian’s 7-month-old daughter Alexis Olympia has 313,000; Boomer Phelps, the 1-year-old son of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, has 784,000; Coco Austin and Ice-T’s 2-year-old daughter, Chanel Nicole, has more than 455,000; and ex-Bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky’s 1-year-old daughter, Molly, has more than 33,000.
In the “real world,” almost 40 percent of mothers between the age of 18 and 34 have created namesake social media pages for their kids within the child’s first year, and another 7 percent before the child’s second birthday, according to a 2014 survey conducted by Gerber. Their reasons, according to the “Today” show include helping family members stay connected to their child, a desire to not overwhelm followers with kid photos, and maintaining an identity other than as a parent.
“The underlying objective of social media used to be a communication tool,” Liz Repking, founder of Cyber Safety Consulting, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “However, now people monetize their personalities online, and their children have to accept that.”
The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule was established in 1998 to prevent companies from collecting data on children below the age of 13 without parental consent. However, by creating their children’s digital footprint, celebrities like Khloé Kardashian are opting out of that protection, unbeknownst to their kids.
“Instagram requires users to be at least 13 years old, and by ignoring that, parents send the message to their children that rules don’t apply to them,” says Repking. She adds that while notoriety will likely follow True forever, her social media presence may be viewed as an open invite to her life, regardless of whether she’s fit for fame.
Caroline Knorr, a senior editor at Common Sense Media, agrees. “Baby Instagram accounts normalize the idea that children are public figures and could convey that it’s acceptable to track their lives,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
Knorr adds that parents who create social media accounts for children should limit their number of followers and use account privacy tools to avoid unwanted exposure. “Using a more secure program like DropBox is another option,” she says, because data is encrypted and viewed by invite-only.
Ultimately, says Repking, parents should understand that family and corporate goals don’t always align. “People may place a personal value on likes, shares, and comments,” she says, “while that data is truly meant to drive corporate revenue.”
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