A new generation of influencers has taken over social media. “Baby influencers,” usually under 18 months, are young, fresh and social media savvy. From fashion posts, daily vlogs, to unique political commentary, little boys and girls as young as five months are developing online brands for themselves, attracting thousands of fans.
As follower count rises, so do the pay cheques. The cash largely comes from endorsements from brands like Mattel and Fisher-Price who are willing to shell out as much as $100,000 per sponsored post. Other perks include self-driving strollers and lavish trips to Chuck E. Cheese’s.
“It’s never too early to encourage your son or daughter to exploit their daily life on the internet for everyone to see,” Karen MacDonald, says mother of three. “Emily, my six-month-old, started out doing daily fashion posts on Instagram but has since expanded to YouTube.” According to MacDonald, Emily’s latest sweet-potato purée Mukbang got over 8 million views on YouTube, a number that would make many adult influencers envious.
However, the rise of baby influencers has received a heavy amount of criticism. Halifax grandmother Dorothy Parker is not fond of little ones finding success so easily and observes that exposure to social media can make children too materialistic.
Parker explains that her one-year-old grandson recently demanded Fendi logo stickers for his crib. “First it was logo stickers, but now he is asking for a Gucci diaper bag and a James Charles makeup palette,” says Parker, “I don’t even know how he learned how to contour.”
Some babies have found success in the realm of political commentary, particularly on YouTube and in podcast form. In the wake of the current political climate, many people are searching for new and interesting perspectives.
“After listening to so many pundits on cable news, I’ve discovered that toddlers and babies are providing a much more factual and nuanced political perspective,” says Bob Sutherland of Dartmouth. “I have more trust in the media now that literal babies are involved.”
Although limited in speech capabilities, infant political commentators, like two-year-old Ken Shapiro, points to a red hammer and sickle and cries at the top of his lungs when watching videos of Bernie Sanders. Other infants have taken a less dramatic approach, simply crawling around and screaming periodically as a news banner runs on the bottom of the screen.
However, some experts are in favour of children adopting social media at a young age. According to child psychologist Jeremy Jones, it is necessary to teach children about the realities of the online world. “It is important to teach children from an early stage that success is entirely derived from likes and follower count true happiness can only be gained through Instagram likes,” he says as he adjusts the pristine locks of his six-month-old daughter’s lace front wig.
The momentum for baby influencers does not appear to be slowing down. Baby Emily, mentioned previously will be taking a position as a correspondent on Entertainment Tonight and Ken Shapiro is reportedly in talks to replace take over Sean Hannity’s nightly spot on Fox News.