Raining on the charade of child exploiters disguised as "family influencers" and the dangers of parents oversharing their children on social media for clicks, clout, and cash, as well as the self-help gurus, curated imperfectionists, and all the other kinds of gross people who deserve to be called out.

my reasoning

For most of my life, I've felt it was best to remain quiet and let others live their lives as they see fit, as long as no one was getting harmed in the process. Within the last year, I've realized that the actions of others are leading to harm, and remaining quiet would be akin to choosing the wrong side of history. Until more and more people continue discussing this and bringing attention to it, the exploitation will continue, and many people will see their bank accounts grow to reflect the cost of their children's privacy.

how is this child exploitation?

Since this is becoming a hot topic, many family vloggers have defended themselves by stating their children enjoy appearing on their monetized social media accounts, they'd never force their children to take part in anything they weren't comfortable filming or sharing, and that their children have consented to having those private moments shared with the world to generate income for for their family. If you're a parent, please consider the following scenarios and how you'd respond to your child.

Scenario 1: Your child asks for your permission to marry their significant other who is a legal adult.

Scenario 2: Your child asks for your permission to get their favorite cartoon character permanently tattooed across their forehead.

Scenario 3: Your child asks for your permission to conceive or adopt a child.

If your child is almost an adult, maybe you'd say yes, but chances are you'd say no, if not hell no. Now consider family vloggers telling you it's ok to share their children's lives publicly and to generate income from them because they consented. Their consent is enough for that, but their consent would never be enough in any of the other scenarios. In the same way a child cannot consent to a marriage, a tattoo, or to have a child as a child themselves, they can't then give informed consent when it's convenient to do so and when the parents want to capitalize on behalf of that consent. Informed consent is important because children cannot possibly comprehend the long-term implications of choices made in their childhood, and if or how that would impact their lives as adults down the line. As parents, it's our job to ensure our children are protected from making decisions that would later have some very serious permanent consequences. It's one thing to share a photo or a few, or even a few videos, but if the parents' content and monetary success on a platform requires their children to be present in most of their videos, it is child exploitation by definition, no matter how one goes about trying to spin it otherwise.

Dictionary.com lists the definition of exploit as:

  1. to utilize, especially for profit; turn to practical account:to exploit a business opportunity.

  2. to use selfishly for one's own ends:employers who exploit their workers.

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