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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The epidemic of family influencers

Infesting every corner of the internet from Instagram to YouTube, family influencers are everywhere. They show us their comfortably chaotic lives full of perfectly imperfect children and unique family traditions. But in reality, how often do those families want to participate in these content farms?

Children everywhere have fallen victim to ‘sharenting.’ Their parents are exploiting them for views, followers and likes. They showcase everything from homework and sporting events to injuries and road trips. 

These children no longer have any form of privacy; every movement and every word are put online for thousands of strangers to scrutinize. People can, and do, reprimand these kids for behaviors that are completely normal.

The kids of these so-called “family influencers” have nothing for themselves. They’ve been public figures since the day they were born, and for some of them, even before that. It’s popular for parents to post ultrasound photos, showcasing how these children are being used for content before they even leave the womb. 

Additionally, since these children are minors, they cannot consent to having their photo taken or posted online. They don’t fully understand what it means and can’t grasp the true gravity of the situation. Publishing content of your own child without their permission is a great way to ruin any sort of future relationship with them.

Permission and consent are especially important as children get older. Adolescents, children ages 10-19, require time and independence to grow into their place in society and the pressure to appear the same as they do on their parents’ socials can stunt that growth.

In addition, kids can also feel embarrassed about what is shared to the world. Parents that don’t consult their children beforehand will post humiliating information and unflattering photos of their children online that can lead to bullying and harassment. 

Research has continuously shown that kids want their parents to ask for permission before they post on any social media platforms. 

Families need to mutually respect one another and each other’s spaces, and these parents are consistently intruding on their children. Without regulation, these parents can pose a real danger to their kids. Not only mentally, but physically as well. 

These parents continuously posting information online could be considered a safety concern. I’ve seen parents post what schools their children go to, the ages of their kids and, with enough research, the layouts of bedrooms and houses. Internet safety used to be ridiculously important, but as technology has advanced, we’ve forgotten about it. 

The internet is a free use space and there is no solid way of knowing who is on the receiving end of their content. Anyone ranging from burglars to pedophiles could be gathering information on these families and every aspect of their lives. However, this danger extends to both sides of the screen. 

Recently, Ruby Franke of 8 Passengers, a popular family life YouTube channel, was arrested on counts of child abuse. Franke has been charged with child abuse after her children were found bound and malnourished. This just shows that we can’t even trust the family that is producing the content we are enjoying.

Social media will not be going away anytime soon, and parents love to show off their children, but there needs to be communication about what is posted and what isn’t. Sharenting and family influencers cannot be exploiting cute faces and childhood memories for parental validation and a couple extra bucks.

The relationship between a parent and child is based off of mutual respect. Asking for permission to share insights into your families’ lives is part of fulfilling that social contract.

This story was written by Izzy Fonfara Drewel. She can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Izzy Fonfara Drewel, Executive Opinions Editor
Izzy Fonfara Drewel is a junior from Papillion, Nebraska majoring in journalism with a double minor in music and Spanish. This school year she will be serving as the Executive Opinions Editor. In previous years, she made her home on the Arts & Entertainment desk as the Executive Arts & Entertainment Editor. Outside of the Wire, Izzy plays the trumpet in the Marquette University Bands and spends her free time trying new restaurants and playing card games with her friends. She is excited to branch out from A&E and dive into a new experience on the Opinions desk.

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