Back in the day if you wanted your child to be a star chances are you had to pull a Jed Clampett and tell yourself “Californy is the place you ought to be.” (Sorry for that Beverly Hillbillies throwback.) Now, there’s another way to reach the masses with your kid’s talent without ever having to leave home – social media.

There are legions of parents out there who are ambitiously dedicated to making their children “instafamous.” This term is derived from the Instagram app and to be instafamous is to have hordes of followers on social media.

Usually an aspiring instafamous kid has a social media account “managed by their mother” and features lots, I mean like, thousands of photos of the child. When you’re scrolling through Instagram or Facebook you know when you see pictures of a kid that feature an otherworldly, soft focus glow from the use of the Mayfair filter (because studies show that photos using the Mayfair filter get the most likes) and seem most certainly photoshopped that this child is probably on the instafamous track.

(I’m now going on the record as saying that if you’re parent that believes the natural beauty of your child isn’t good enough so therefore you feel compelled to photoshop, blur and enhance the image of your four-year-old you have problems and need to immediately seek professional help.)

I admit to being bewildered by parents who shamelessly court followers for their children on social media. Is there an upside? I mean how is your darling cherub ever going to usurp a celebrity’s kids in likes and follows? And what’s the end game besides people thinking you’re crazy?

Yes, crazy because everyone knows that for the most part getting your kid instafamous is more about you and your ego issues than your eight-year-old giving a flip about whether or not the last photo you posted exceeded 1K in likes.

My daughter is a competitive dancer (think athlete + artist) and that world seems to breed mothers who are intent on gaining instafamous status for their child. For one thing it’s easy – you’ve got loads of impressive dance pics of your kid and there’s enough going on in the dance world from Dance Moms to So You Think You Can Dance Kids to buoy a parent’s hope that their child could be the next big thing. There’s also the lure of getting a dance apparel contract for your child, which seems to be predicted on social media followers and is step one in the “I Want My Kid To Be A Star” handbook.

What scares and confounds me is that these parents seem to be oblivious or choose to ignore the frightening fact that a lot of social media love comes from creeps. One dance studio in Kansas had a huge security concern after some zealous wanna be instafamous moms hustled their kids so much that “strange men” starting lurking outside the dance studio. And a young dancer “who made it” has mega fans like a prison inmate who has the child’s likeness tattooed on his face.

We live in a hyper vigilant society where we won’t let our kids play outside in their own yard or ride their bikes around the cul-de-sac without an adult present. People freak out and call the police when they see a child walking home from school alone. So, I’m perplexed how there can there be such a huge disconnect for some parents who wouldn’t let their kid run down the street to the neighbors but are actively wooing and inviting the worst of humanity into their child’s life via social media.

Is another Instagram follower worth it? You can’t Mayfair filter or photoshop the ugly out of that question.

4 thoughts on “Instafamous

  1. Amanda says:

    The most profound thing you said is that it’s all about the parent’s ego. As much as they like to tell themselves it’s all for the kid it’s not. My sister is dedicated to making her two girls instafamous. It seems every other week they have some sort of professional photo shoot that she shares on social media and then leaves hashtags of talent agencies that book children in hopes of landing her girls “a gig.” The whole family thinks it’s sad and my mother-in-law talked to her daughter, but no matter what you tell her about the dangers she’s hell bent that her girls will be stars.

    • Kate says:

      It sounds like you’re describing my sister-in-law. She’s a full on fame whore and her day is all about how many likes some photo of her kid got. It’s scary. We’ve even pointed out that a lot of her child’s Instagram followers are middle aged men and she could care less. I can’t imagine putting my daughter in harms way like that.

  2. L.B McCall says:

    I have a friend who is obsessed with this. Even something fun like a trip to the zoo is ruined because the mom makes her kids pose for a million pictures, does that weird filter thing you talked about to them and goes crazy posting them on Instagram. Her favorite thing to talk about is what pictures of her kids have gotten the most likes. Ugh!

  3. CaribParent says:

    I would give this 100 likes if I could, I almost never post pictures of my kids on social media for the very reason you mentioned. There are so many pedophiles lurking around to catch a glimpse of your kid and we make it so easy for them. Well written, love it!

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