It’s a hot topic of debate at the moment – are parent bloggers, Insta-Mums and family targeted social influencers exploiting their kids for cash? And in many cases not just cash but holidays, new kitchens, clothes and even brand new cars. This all kicked off yesterday – well the latest edition anyway. I missed all the drama because on the internet as in life, I am always two steps behind what’s going on in the World.
However, despite being a long term follower of Clemmie Hooper (aka Mother Of Daughters) I first realised that she had left Instagram when I saw a post by Cat Sims (aka. Not So Smug Now) in a rather staged and pensive pose – calling out bullies and engaging in a rather ruthless debate in the comments. She has since removed and disabled the comments on her post – however the “instawanky” image still remains in all it’s glory (her words not mine).
From what I can gather, MoD had been accused by users of Mumsnet and Instagram for using her daughters to make money by promoting brands and products to her 500,000 followers. Both MoD and her husband, Simon (FoD) who has an even larger following than herself have worked with huge brands and have no doubt made significant money through being social influencers. People were also taking um-bridge with her alleged failure to disclose sponsored collaborations and images and it seems it all got very bitchy, very very quickly.
And the Daily Mail is fucking loving it. Naturally.
Some say its jealousy, from internet trolls and loser keyboard warriors. Some say it’s fair to question the ethics surrounding social media marketing. Some say it’s the price you pay and something you have to put up with – if you are going to invite the public into your life. Some say she’s a mumtrepeneur, a trail blazer in our now social media orientated World.
And I’m just sat over here wondering – whatever your opinion is – why is it only the Mother that’s getting all the shit on this when both parents are a mahoosive social media force, working as a family unit with numerous brands and companies?
Have a proverbial suck on that for a moment.
Either way, this online drama has made me sit down this afternoon and actually ask that question about myself – Am I Exploiting My Kids Through Blogging and Social Media?
exploit – make full use of and derive benefit from (a resource).
Because you know, I do actually do what Clemmie Hooper does. I mean, I do it on a much, much smaller scale – her 500,000 to my 5,000 followers but I do. I do promote products and brands via my social media outlets and blog – often using images or stories of my children. And whilst I never market a product that I think is shit and I’ll always disclose when I’ve received any lolly for a promotion- the simple fact is that I do make money from being a monetised Mummy Blogger. And my children, who are very young and currently have no idea or concept of why I’m asking them to eat that yoghurt whilst I take a photo or open that box on the count of three so I can IG story it – are possibly unwitting passengers on my supposed gravy train.
The fact is that – they do not actively consent.
Except, it’s not actually a gravy train – it’s a source of income. A currently, pretty withered one at that. It’s a way to help make ends meet, all be it a creative and unusual one but still it pays a few bills and buys a few school jumpers. The money that I earn or the goods I receive are pooled into our family unit to the benefit of us all.
Because you know, I will flog toilet paper if it means I can pay the electricity bill.
Much in the same way that our Grandma’s might have become Avon ladies or held tupperware parties – am I not seeing an opportunity to try to balance money and parenting and seizing it with both hands?
I suppose the real question sits with what exactly it is that I am posting of my children. Is it anything that could irreversibly embarrass or damage them in the future? Do I ever make them do things they don’t want to do for the sake of a good photo?
No. Categorically No.
Do I know when to stop? Will I know when enough is enough?
Because they will tell me, that’s why. They will say “Mum, I don’t want to be on your website anymore. I don’t want to have my photo taken. I don’t want to do this.”
And then and only then, would I be exploiting them if I chose to continue.