My mum's an influencer and I'm sick of being used as content

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images 

A teenager who grew up as the child of a "kinda famous" Instagrammer/Mummy Blogger came up with a frankly genius way to stop being used as content. And it's left her Insta Mum a tad perturbed.

In a post to Reddit, the teen explains that she and her sister have always featured on their mum's blog and social media sites. "It sucks because there's so much out there about us and it's what's gonna come up when I'm looking for a job, when I'm dating, when anyone looks up my name," she writes.

Fed up, the teen found a site where she was able to custom order jackets and hoodies with "print all over the front and back and arms. I ordered some hoodies that say a bunch of phrases all over them: "No photos", "No videos", "I do not consent to be photographed", "No means no", "Respect my privacy", "No cameras", "No profiting off my image".

Admitting that it sounds "silly, but looks pretty sick," the teen noted that she bought one for herself and one for her nine-year-old sister who she says has started objecting to having her photo taken too.

"I guess the idea is that my mum can't take good looking pictures, even candid ones, with us in the hoodies without them having a pretty strong message that we don't want to be in pictures," she writes. 

But mum isn't impressed. "She says she just wants pictures to remember my young years by, she won't post ones without asking," the teen continues.

But she notes that it's not that simple. "[My mum] always says that and then negotiates me into letting her post," she writes, explaining that her mother will often tell her that it's how she makes her income so she should stop arguing.

"Or she will post without asking and then say 'I thought it would be OK because your face wasn't visible / you're just in the background."

But for the frustrated teen it's just not good enough.

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"If you thought at all you'd remember what I said I want," she writes. " No new pictures of me or mentions of me online."

The teen also wants her mum to remove all pictures she's ever posted of her and delete any writing where she is mentioned.

"I am just so fed up, and upset that my mum is mad at me for wearing my new hoodie everyday. She's mad I won't take it off for any event and thinks it's inappropriate to wear to certain things.

"I know it's really weird looking but it feels like my only option."

Redditors overwhelmingly took the teen's side.

"Your mum has exploited you all your life, for money," said one commenter. "That's shitty enough, but then to try and guilt-trip/manipulate you into continuing to participate even though you've told her explicitly you don't want to be a part of it anymore? That is beyond the pale."

"You have every right to feel that way. I think the hoodie is a brilliant idea!" another commented. "This is really interesting actually. Perhaps legislation needs to be introduced to protect children from this kind of thing. We need a national discussion about the privacy rights of kids."

One suggested that the teen was right for standing up for herself - and should start a revolution.

"We have been worried about kids in your position for years but they were all too young to stand up for themselves. You are a part of a larger reckoning. Contact other kids in your situation. Start a club. Sue the shit out of your parents."

Last year, Apple Martin, daughter of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, called out her mother for posting a photo of her without her permission.

"Mom we have discussed this," she commented under the snap. "You may not post anything without my consent."

The photo remains online.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Gwyneth Paltrow (@gwynethpaltrow) on

Similarly, US Blogger Christie Tate faced backlash after penning the Washington Post article: "My daughter asked me to stop writing about motherhood. Here's why I can't do that."

"My daughter didn't ask to have a writer for a mother, but that's who I am," she wrote. "Amputating parts of my experience feels as abusive to our relationship as writing about her without any consideration for her feelings and privacy."

Tate was widely criticised for her unapologetic stance and labelled callous and self-centered.

Closer to home, in 2018, a survey conducted by cybersecurity company McAfee, found that 60 per cent of Australian mums and dads don't consult their child before sharing an image and 37 per cent believe they have the right to post those snaps without asking their little ones first.

It's an issue explored in depth in a 2016 paper, "Sharenting: Children's Privacy in the Age of Social Media," which highlighted the need for parents to be given "healthy rules of thumb" when it comes to making online disclosures about their children. 

And one of those rules was that children should ultimately have "veto power" over what their parents share.

"Through sharenting, or online sharing about parenting, parents now shape their children's digital identity long before these young people open their first email," wrote lead author Stacey Steinberg, warning that the disclosures parents make online are "sure to follow their children into adulthood".

And while she noted that "untangling the parent's right to share his or her own story and the child's right to enter adulthood free to create his or her own digital footprint" is a daunting task, it's one we need to take seriously. 

"Parents must consider the overall effect sharing has on a child's psychological development," Seinberg wrote in her paper.