A MUM has been accused of being a neglectful parent after turning her one-year-old into a social media influencer.
Stacey Woodhams, 28, told this week that she has netted £10,000 from baby and clothing firms since posting photos of son Ralphie Waplington on Instagram.
His mum from Brentwood, Essex, has even banned her family members from posting any snaps of Ralphie without permission in case they affect his “brand” value.
Today, two parents debate whether it is appropriate to “cash in” on your child through social media.
YES... SAYS BLOGGER AND DAD OF FOUR ALEX LEWIS
REVENUE controller Alex Lewis and wife Charlotte, 33, live with kids Henry, five, and 18-month-old triplets Annabella, Lottie and Florence in Chelmsford, Essex. Alex, 33, blogs as @daddy_to_triplet_girls on Instagram, where users can generally earn one per cent of their following in monetary value. He says:
“The blog started as a bit of fun to keep a picture diary. Then other parents got in touch and it turned into a support network.
My followers went from 500 to 10,000 and it’s now around 95,000.
The happiness of the children comes before anything else and the long list of positives outweigh the negatives. In the beginning we were sent free products – a babygro or rattle.
When we hit 10,000 followers, things got interesting. Companies offered paid contracts – it’s a win-win for them.
They’re getting access to thousands of parents, seeing a real person use a product.
I turn down 90 per cent of offers because I don’t want to annoy followers. It’s about getting the balance right.
We’d never put our children in a compromising position.
I won’t associate them with products we don’t like or believe in. At present, we are working with ten chains, including M&S and Next. We made the choice to go down this route.
When the kids are older we’ll justify it.
We have trust funds set up for them and every penny we’ve made has gone to them.
When the girls say they don’t want to be in the photos any more, it’s game over.”
NO... SAYS WRITER AND MUM OF ONE LUCY DIXON
LUCY DIXON, 39, is a journalist living in Lowestoft, Suffolk and a single mum to George, six. She says:
“WE don’t send our kids to work up chimneys any more, but there’s a breed of parents who still think it’s fine to treat their children like enforced money-makers. They make my heart sink.
For the pint-sized “influencers”, every moment is a photo (and cash-earning) opportunity. Stripped of spontaneity, they must act out a fake version of family life. And why? To get free clothes and Likes.
How sad to reduce the most important people in your life to business assets. Judging your family’s worth by the number of modelling jobs and product endorsements your kids can earn is particularly unhealthy.
How do the parents – and children – feel if their content dips in popularity and the money stops?
The mum of one-year-old influencer Ralphie Waplington admits she won’t share pictures of her son looking less than perfect.
What will influencers like her do if their child gets acne as a teen? Stop taking photos? What a horrible message that gives out.
And where does this quest for subscribers and revenue end? I fear some parents don’t have any lines they won’t cross in search of freebies and cash.
These child stars may love a life in the spotlight when they are older – but any parent who is making this decision for them now in order to make money really should be ashamed of themselves.”