Scrolling through an influencer’s Amazon wishlist, you can see fairly typical items available for fans to send the influencer: high heels, bikinis, short shorts, gift cards, and even a stylish silk robe. The wishlist becomes more insidious once you realize it belongs to a ten-year-old girl who loves dancing, and whose mom runs her social media accounts on her behalf.
Sarah, aka mom.uncharted, has dedicated herself to calling out content creators who share their children’s lives online. In countless videos, she highlights the dangers and risks associated with being part of “Generation Shared,” devoting her time to explaining why children are not content; these include videos where parents share footage of their children in hospital, videos highlighting the disturbing comments made on children’s social media accounts, and videos stressing the point that what parents see as innocent and wholesome content can be interpreted very differently by predators.
While Sarah calls out more general examples of child exploitation on social media and offers advice for what kinds of content parents shouldn’t share, as well as how parents can better monitor their children’s online activities, she also regularly critiques specific creators for engaging in what she views as exploitation.
“When is it no longer exploiting, and it’s literally pimping out your children?” she asks in an older video.
@mom.uncharted Throwback to a popular video from my “Mommy Ran Account” playlist- and yes, this is still happening #onthisday #stitch #exploitation #socialmedia #girlmom #girldad #daughters #amazonwishlist #wishlist #parents #exploitationawareness #onlinesafety ♬ original sound - mom.uncharted
Increasingly, children who grew up in the spotlight are speaking out about how this has impacted them. One young woman wrote an article for Metro.co.uk in which she says, “I grew up with a famous parent… I will need therapy for the rest of my life.” The young woman, who goes by the name Charlotte in order to protect her identity, speaks about the disturbing impact of growing up in the public eye without her consent and living with her mother “speaking out about our family life in newspapers and on TV”: For example, sexual objects turning up in the mail, and weird men loitering near her school.
@mom.uncharted Replying to @hobisstrawberry Adults should not be able to subscribe to “exclusive content” of children @mom.uncharted @mom.uncharted @mom.uncharted #fyp #reply #subscribe #subscription #instagram #exploitation #parents #parenting #girlmom #daughters #safety #onlinesafety #awareness #keepkidssafe #VikingRise #greenscreen ♬ original sound - mom.uncharted
Sharing this article with her followers, Sarah said that she stands by the fact that children have the right to privacy, informed consent and digital safety. “The way in which parents are using their kids as content and oversharing them on public social media has gone too far,” she argues, closing by imploring people to stop following parents who exploit and endanger their children on social media.
Some parents seem to be taking warnings from people like Sarah to heart — last year, TikToker Maia Knight, who has more than 8 million followers and became popular thanks to her adorable twin daughters, Scout and Violet, made the decision to stop showing their faces on her account now that they were toddlers. In a video, she explained that she was making the choice to protect her daughters and herself, explaining that she felt it was the best decision for them. Her content now focuses on her, and if the twins appear in videos, it’s either from behind or with their faces covered by emoticons.
@mom.uncharted Are influencer parents okay? #babies #socialmedia #influencers #parents #parenting #imo #parentingtips #greenscreenvideo #exploitation ♬ original sound - mom.uncharted
Recently, Sarah explained to her audience that she is trying to move away from talking about specific creators, making an exception for egregious and repeat offenders, and instead speak in more general terms about the risks associated with sharing images and videos of your children online, which shouldn’t prove difficult considering how widespread the problem is.