By the age of 13, the average child has 1,300 photos and videos of them online, posted on social networks by their parents. Social influencers regularly share details of their children’s lives with their followers, sometimes even allowing fans to directly ask their children questions. Videos of children are the most popular and sought after on the social network so the algorithm promotes these posts.
“If you think that sharing your child’s life on social media is just an innocent act, I’m the proof that you are wrong,” states Cam, now 24 years old. She knows the consequences only too well, after private moments of her childhood were shared by her mother on social media. As a child, strangers would come up to her in the street to ask about her period. She can no longer uses her real name out of concern that people will do a google search and see all the intimate moments of her childhood.
In a hyperconnected world, linked by Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, everyday family life is no longer private. Parents can profit from their own children, monetizing their daily life, their struggles and their private moments. Some of these video channels could be seen as an outlet for a covert form of child labour, promoting manipulation and mistreatment of children. Videos of YouTube star ‘DaddyOFive’ ‘pranking’ his children were so shocking, they led to him losing custody of children. Then there was the ‘cheese challenge’, which encouraged people to throw a slice of processed cheese on their baby’s face and upload a video of their reaction to social media.
We travel from Europe to the USA, via Canada and Dubai, mixing personal experiences with investigative journalism, to examine the harm caused by exposing children online.
We spend hours on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, seduced by their promise: to be able to share our life and our opinions with the whole world. But this irresistible quest for recognition can quickly turn into addiction, wreaking havoc on our mental health.More info