Instamoms are Instacrazy

This week I felt compelled to write a blog post about a crazy topic that came up in our readings for this week…Instamoms. What is an Instamom you ask? A New York Times article by KJ Dell’Antonia sums it up:

“Meet the Instamom. She is not just snapping pictures of her cute child in adorable moments, she is staging them, using clothing she has requested from brands and a professional photographer. Regular shoots feed the illusion of a life lived outshining the most ordinary of surroundings: playgrounds, grocery stores, the sidewalks most of us walk so forgettably, our toddlers completely without the purple faux-fur jacket and fedora that would so surely enliven their days and the days of what could be legions of adoring fans.”

Another New York Times article defines Instamoms as “a Stage Mother for Social Media”.

One of the most well known is 4 year old London Scout. She has 118 000 followers on Instagram and a blog Scout the City (all accounts are run by her Instamom). I was looking around on the blog and found myself rolling my eyes at things like describing London’s style as “playground chic”. She’s 4 years old!!! Why does a 4 year old need “chic style”!? Whatever this reason, this is one very famous 4 year old. But what happens next? What happens when she reaches an age where she is old enough to make her own decisions and shape her online identity?

My biggest issue with this? The Instamom is creating their child’s online identity and digital footprint. Most of these children are around the age of 4-5, some even younger. The fame and incentives the Instamoms get (including clothing and discounts) sound great, but what happens when the child grows up and doesn’t want the fame and attention? This situation also reminds me of the discussions we have had previously about how social media portrays an edited version of our lives. These are all edited versions of these children’s lives- things are not all smiles, balloons, designer clothing and cupcakes. Instamoms are also not portraying a real picture of what it is like to be a parent.

What are your thoughts on the Instamom? Do you think they are exploiting their children or do you think it’s a unique opportunity for the children? Do you have a problem with the way these children are being portrayed online? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below.

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9 thoughts on “Instamoms are Instacrazy

  1. Luke Braun says:

    As a parent, we have been diligent about how much content we create around our kids. People often wonder why we don’t post more but I feel like there needs to be a healthy balance for sure.

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  2. Erin Benjamin says:

    I’ve shared MANY of these exact thoughts this week Amy! I have a friend who has an instagram account for his daughter and posts as if it’s from her perspective…she isn’t even 2! There posts are adorable and hilarious but definitely are a “created identity” by Mom and Dad.

    I think there is a difference between sharing tidbits of your life with your children and then posting AS your child. I think most of the time it is likely harmless, but I think it can be considered exploitative at times.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Amy says:

      Erin, you are right when you point out that there is a difference between sharing things about your children and posting AS them. I think that’s where the biggest problem is with creating their identity for them. Even if they are as young as 2, by posting on their behalf their identity is being shaped in a more concrete way than if you share photos or information as a parent.

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  3. ashleypmurray says:

    I agree with Erin. I don’t think you should be defining their identity and posting AS your child. I think that sharing is fine, but it should be from our perspective and even then we need to be careful and think about what our children would want.

    I just had a thought pop into my mind to maybe play devils advocate a little bit. Online identities aside, how big of a role do we play in the identity of our children as they grow up? I think we play a huge role in it. For example, our little guy LOVES Star Wars and all things Disney. Why? Because those are the shows we have introduced him to. He plays soccer and will play hockey next year. Why? Because those are the sports we played and the ones we like. Is that to say that if he wanted to play baseball or tennis that we wouldn’t let him? Of course not…and we will introduce him to those sports as well, but we have already decided the sports we want him to be in. Time will tell if he wants to be in them in the long run. But is this different than the people who are choosing how their children are defined online? Thoughts anyone?

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  4. Kristina Boutilier says:

    I agree with many of the above comments. I have actively tried not to post about my pregnancy on my personal social media accounts. It is a decision my husband and I have made together. (Although my learning project definitely is the opposite of this thought).

    I think there is a fine line between sharing and over-sharing when it comes to your kids. I would hate to post something that went viral and changed my child’s life for better or worse. I don’t think that is fair for children to be labelled a certain way because of a video posted after the dentist or because of your brother biting you. (Although I have had a few laughs watching these videos). I think the key here as with everything is balance.

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    • Amy says:

      That is interesting that you and your husband have decided not to post about your pregnancy- I respect that decision! I never considered the fact that something could go viral until you mentioned it. Think of all the youtube videos that have gone viral that star young children- that will stay with them forever. The first that comes to mind are the boys in the “Charlie bit my finger” video from long ago. They are older now but that is something that will stay with them forever.

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