The job title “influencer” is a byproduct of the age of the internet and social media.
People from Gen-X and older may not understand or approve of such a career, but they should recognize Gen-X is the last generation to have lived without the internet, social media, reality TV and cellphones.
Millennials and younger have watched families like the Kardashians create empires out of nothing but a sex tape and being followed by cameras for decades. Then they watched random individuals like the Paul brothers and D’Amelio sisters turn their dubious talents into millions of dollars.
Multiple makeup artists and performers have turned their artistry into money making ventures through social media. Parenting tips, cooking, crafting, home improvement… there’s a viral star monetizing nearly every aspect of life somewhere online.
As a result, chasing viral fame through posting every aspect of life has become the new get rich quick scheme for many people.
But what happens when not everyone in a family is on board with having their life broadcast online?
This was the dilemma a father faced when his wife decided to use their young children in her quest for online fame. After clashing on the issue, he turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.
“AITA for telling my wife I don’t care about her dreams?”
The original poster (OP) explained:
“My wife wants to be an influencer on TikTok and YouTube. She has been creating mommy content and content about her day to day life.”
“When she told me this is something she wanted to do I didn’t have a problem with I only said that I don’t want our children (4 years-old, male; 2 years-old, female) in ANY of her content. I didn’t monitor her channel because it didn’t really seem necessary.”
“I recently watched her channel because I thought it be cute so see what she does in her day to day life. I found our childrens’ faces in almost all of her content.
“I told her straight up she needs to remove all of her content. She said that she knew I wouldn’t agree but she doesn’t think this is a big deal.
“I don’t like children in content. I feel like a lot of the time when you see that, children make a profit so they become less your kids and more of a product and your interactions become more performative.”
“I can see the same thing has happened in her because she posted a video of her getting our 2-year-old out of a tantrum and how she deals with it. But how is your first instinct to record and hold a camera whilst our baby is crying?”
“My wife started crying saying she built this up and this is her dream and deleting her content will ruin it. I said ‘I simply don’t give a f’k, if you don’t delete it I will consider a divorce’.”
“I know a lot of people have children on their social media and I don’t mind an Instagram or Facebook post, but to make videos seems too intimate to share.”
“She told her friends and even hinted on her social media accounts that she has an over-controlling and narcissistic husband that doesn’t want her on social media. I am currently being ridiculed by her friends.”
“Am I being over controlling or narcissistic?”
The OP added:
“Someone asked what kind of content.”
“The content isn’t really harmful just her feeding them and playing with them but the 2 types of videos I have problems with is her recording our childrens’ tantrums and our 2-year-old still doesn’t like clothes.”
“We are trying to get her to wear them more but our house can be hot so she is in a diaper a lot. I don’t like the videos of our daughter in just her diaper.”
“It really wasn’t a sole decision—we actually came to that conclusion together. I don’t know what made her change her mind about showing their faces.”
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
Redditors were completely unanimous in declaring OP was not the a**hole (NTA).
“NTA—people who make profits from their kid’s misery are the AHs here, and it seems like your wife is more interested in being a TikTok celebrity than being a caring wife and mother.”
“No one should ever be shilling out their kids for likes and imaginary internet points.” ~ 7hr0wn
Many Redditors shared the OPs concern for his children.
“There’s going to be a whole generation of traumatized adults who had the entirety of their lives exploited by their parents on the internet for profit. It needs to be illegal.” ~ Heavy_Sand5228
“Honestly, I fully expect there to be lawsuits on this topic in the next few years, of kids who have serious mental health issues as a result of their parents doing this sh*t. And I hope [exploiting kids] dies the painful death it deserves.” ~ Thuis001
“There have been! There was a couple that divorced and the dad took her to court to stop her from using their kids image for profit.”
“And I believe one of the family vlogs that kept adopting kids was finally sued by one of their oldest.” ~ Poku115
“Either that or there will be lawsuits by the kids saying hey, you don’t get to use me as an unpaid actor and I want a cut of the profits. I hope some of those are successful.” ~ allorache
“Reminds me of all the old-Hollywood horror stories about how they treated child actors like Judy Garland. We have apparently learned nothing since then.” ~ anacrusisnt
“I think parents doing this, deliberately being intrusive and posting day to day life of their kids for the world to see, feels abusive to me.”
“They can’t consent. They don’t understand.”
“All for money.” ~ Lord-Taurus
“I had a close friend who is an influencer. She posts her kids on the daily as content.”
“But she shares insanely intimate things about their lives and her husband. I’m not close with her anymore for this reason.”
“I find it incredibly pathetic and exploitative to make content off of the people’s lives you’re meant to love and protect.”
“I stopped posting my kid in 2021. And have had another since. I just feel like this world is full of sickos and I don’t trust any platform to keep my data safe.” ~ Sc3niXl
“The internet age is just catching up to the trail blazed by film and TV. It’s just more accessible to anyone having delusions of fame and willing to sacrifice their own children for it. I’m not surprised.” ~ letstrythisagain30
“Especially since Jackie Coogan [child entertainment labor] law protections don’t cover this type of content so she can take the money her kids earn for her and not keep it for them.” ~ Prudent_Plan_6451
People had strong feelings about a parent using their children for content without the other parent’s consent.
“NTA monetizing children is f’king gross. you can have a successful mommy channel without exploiting those you are meant to protect and claim to love.” ~ Cultural_Section_862
“And honestly, the bigger problem is the trust thing. She agreed to something, to your face, then just turned around and did whatever she wanted because she knew you wouldn’t agree.”
“Stuff like kids’ visibility online is an important joint parenting decision, and it’s super concerning that she just completely ignored that. It’s disrespectful of you as a partner.” ~ sarita_sy07
“She has shown you that she values OTHER PEOPLE’S comments about parenting over her husband’s. They aren’t HER kids, they belong to BOTH of you, and when those kids cannot consent to being in these videos, then a CONSENSUS must be reached.”
“She AGREED to your demand that the kids not appear in the videos and then disregarded that and did it anyway. She obviously doesn’t value you as a father, as a husband, or as a person.”
“She chose to EXPLOIT your children, plain and simple, at your expense and at theirs. She sees your children as accessories to her narcissism and nothing more and has no thought about how their entire childhood being shared with every random stranger on the internet is going to effect them when they get older.”
“On top of that, if she’s bad-mouthing you on the internet, where does that lead? What else is she saying, and to whom? Are there other exaggerations or falsehoods that she’s posting that could negatively impact you?”
“Are these defamations just part of her ‘narrative’ to put herself in a good light? So then, ask yourself, is she staging things with the kids, putting them in manufactured situations for a video? How could this escalate or put the kids in any danger?”
“She said you’re stifling her ‘dream.’ I would have thought the dream was to have kids, not to exploit them for self-gain.” ~ michaelmoby
“A business model that is built on exploiting your own kids is both ethically dodgy now and building problems for your future relationship with your kids.”
“That dream sounds more like a nightmare.”
“If she’s going to conduct her arguments with you via her social media, then she’s told you just about everything you need to know.”
“I’m pretty sure YouTube removes content with kids if they’re told it’s without parental consent. NTA.” ~ peonyhen
People provided valid reasons for keeping young children off social media.
“Absolutely NTA. Children are taken advantage of all the time by TikTok and influencers.”
“Kids have no idea what social media is. They can’t consent to being online forever.”
“It’s been proven that videos with kids get watched and saved more. Especially when they are in revealing clothing.”
“Protect your kids.” ~ Keenzur
“There’s a woman I come across on TikTok sometimes who does the work of explaining why ‘mommy’ content with kids gets so many more saves/likes/downloads than ‘mommy’ content without kids in it…and it’s exactly for all the worst reasons you can think of. Even for kids as young as 2.”
“I’m so sorry, OP, but maybe you could find some more research out there to scare her out of it. Your kids’ safety and well-being is way more important than her dreams of being a YouTube star.” ~ here_pretty_kitty
Hopefully this family can remain intact.
But as the OP stated in a comment on his post, his children’s safety and happiness will always come first.