When it comes to modern-day parenting, few topics are more divisive than the question of whether kids should be exposed to and on social media.
This week, it was in the spotlight again after Hollywood actress Gwenyth Paltrow posted a picture of her teenage daughter Apple Martin online without her consent, sparking a global war of words.
After Paltrow uploaded a photo of the pair on a ski trip onto Instagram, her 14-year-old daughter commented: “Mom we have discussed this. You may not post anything without my consent.”
Paltrow replied: “You can’t even see your face!”
View this post on Instagram
What transpired was a fiery debate over whether it was right for Paltrow to have uploaded the photo without first getting Apple’s permission.
I agree with Apple!
I have never shared photos of my kids online, (although have been tempted must admit!)
It’s ultimately a bit creepy really.
Apple Martin tells off mother Gwyneth Paltrow…
@ciarakellydoc @LunchtimeLiveNT #lunchtimelive https://t.co/MbXfqatpD7
— ConcernedCitizen (@scrahallia) March 29, 2019
“I’ll post whatever the hell I want!” That would’ve been my response…don’t let your kid run your life,” one angry follower posted on Paltrow’s Instagram account.
Others backed Martin and called for parents to be more sensitive about posting content related to their kids.
“You’d think a celebrity who has to deal with paparazzi could grasp the concept of someone wanting their privacy respected,” argued another.
In a Kardashian-inspired world, it’s not unusual for social media pages to be brimming with child influencers, Insta-mums, and mini business moguls.
But can too much exposure to social media from a young age be damaging for a child?
Meg Coffey, social media expert of social agency Coffey & Tea believes that it can be harmful and that parents should think twice before uploading images or opening accounts for them.
View this post on Instagram
“When we look at the world today, where these children are filmed from the moment that they’re conceived, from their sonogram photo, every part of their life is online and this is the way that we’re moving,” Coffey told Your Money Live.
“I really think parents need to think twice around putting their kids onto social media and documenting it,” she said.
“It’s exposing them to something that they’re not really willing to have the consent or understand the consent of having those things out there. And when we put our children online it opens them up to a whole new world of possible bad people.”
Social media platforms such as Instagram and YouTube have given rise to child influencers who use the channels to document their lives and promote products.
For the many child influencers, who have tens or hundreds of thousands of followers, it can be a lucrative business, but Coffey believes it exposes them to a world too focused on appearance and money.
“When we do make these kids Insta-famous, these toddlers, for what they wear or their toys, do the kids really get to be kids?” she asks.
“The whole Kylie Jenner phenomenon, she never had a childhood. Is she better off for that or are we better off as consumers because we documented the whole thing?”
“They shouldn’t be making money off their children.”
While social media has become a fact of life, Coffey sees Gwenyth Paltrow’s mother-daughter post on Instagram as highlighting an important topic that parents and consumers should be thinking twice about.
Watch the video above for more.