Would you let your child become a 'kid influencer'?

Would you let your child become a ‘kid influencer(ˈinflo͝oəns)’?

By Suzanne Bearne

Social media “influencers” - people who promote(prəˈmōt) goods and
services for money online - are getting younger and younger it seems. And services are springing up to teach parents and kids just how to do it.

Ralphie(fē) Waplington(ā) is just two-and-a-half years old, yet he has almost 20,000 followers(ˈfälō-ər) on Instagram.

His page features pictures of him wearing gifted clothes, enjoying freebie(ˈfrēbē) trips(trip) and fronting(frənt) posts sponsored(ˈspänsər) by brands such as Peppa Pig and McDonald’s.

His parents, Stacey(tā) Woodhams and Adam(ˈadəm) Waplington, from Brentwood(ˈbrentˌwo͝od) in Essex(ˈesəks), set up the account in 2017 when he was just a couple of weeks old.

Initially(iˈniSH(ə)lē), this was simply to “document pictures of him for friends and family”, they say. But follower numbers rocketed when the toddler(ˈtädlər) was pictured with products gifted by local businesses.

Stacey says his mini(ˈminē)-stardom(ˈstärdəm) has led to incredible(inˈkredəbəl) opportunities.

“It is giving us an unbelievable experience as a family and it’s great if we can create some kind of media CV for him, put money away in the bank and build memories for us.”

From toddlers appearing on carefully curated(-ˌrāt,ˈkyo͝orət,ˈkyo͝oˌrāt) accounts set up by their parents, to teenagers(ˈtēnˌājər) creating their own channels on YouTube, more kids are becoming social media “influencers”.