Virtual space for younger generations is an important element of identity. Online activity determines traits, position in the group, and even social status. We don’t pay attention to it when we are a few years old, when we come to the Internet on the initiative of our parents.
Identity from the first click
A person in the network may exist long before they receive a PESEL number. Identities are born from ultrasound images and abdominal sessions. You can record the reaction of your loved ones to pregnancy news and share it on the Internet. The more creative, the more emotions and better ranges. There are tons of future dads, grandmothers, and grandparents on YouTube who have just received a gift that is a clear suggestion about the baby. The arrival of a new life is an important event that naturally attracts attention, and sharing the intimate moments of a family is part of the culture practiced there.
The limit of virtual activity can take place in different places, but the free control of it is not always obvious. Joanna Opozda, actress known from many series, is followed on Instagram by more than 500,000 users. That’s less than two percent of Poland’s internet population – not a lot, but enough to make the actress’s personal troubles a hot topic, additionally heated by the birth of her son, who was born almost under the projectors. The famous father did not pick it up in the hospital, and in a few years he himself will read about it on the Internet, where – as is well known – nothing is lost. The worst thing about this scandal from day one of life is that anyone can learn about it – now and in the future.
Julia Kuczyńska, better known as Maffashion, has been investigated – not really her, but her stomach. Well-known influencer and actor Sebastian Fabijański was expecting a child, but they refrained from publicizing the happy news, almost until the birth itself, out of concern for their health. In order to avoid stress, the expectant mother suffered pressure from the media. The suspicion of pregnancy was also widely commented on the Internet, and the silence only aroused curiosity.
Parents with lots of followers is a personal story that becomes public long before a child makes a conscious decision to open a social media account. You can have them on Facebook and Instagram from the age of fourteen. Behind the principle hides the safety of the youngest, naturally threatened by popularity.
Discretion as much as possible
Anna and Robert Lewandowscy avoid showing their daughters’ faces, but the family’s life is not shrouded in mystery. The girls appear on Instagram, part of the inspirational story of an active mother’s healthy lifestyle. The couple shares positive emotions with the world, and children are their natural source, and although the most famous Polish athlete faces millions of stares from all over the world, no one would easily recognize his daughters on the street. The Lewandowscy care about the image of children, trying to keep them discreet while focusing attention on themselves. They are not the only ones.
Ola Żebrowska on her Instagram account presents a realistic image of motherhood, speaking with perversity and humor about the realities of caring for three children. He deals with difficult topics, referring to his own experiences – he shows the body changing under the influence of pregnancy, talks about miscarriages and difficult times. She owns a brand that offers high-quality maternity and breastfeeding clothes. The name of the company comes from the names of her sons and although she and her husband – actor Michał Żebrowski – are active on Instagram, and the publications of the famous family are courageous, the children are protected. They are unrecognizable in public photos on the Internet. Just like the children of Zofia Zborowska and Andrzej Wrona, Małgorzata Socha, Joanna Koroniewska and Maciej Dowbor.
Instagram gives you almost limitless possibilities to create reality – you can be a mom and post content that inspires other moms without showing the kids. Their image – as in the case of adults – is a personal asset. In Poland, it is protected under the provisions of the Civil Code, the Copyright and Neighboring Rights Act, the Personal Data Protection Act (and GDPR), the Family Code and the guardianship and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Parents must manage it with caution, acting for the good of minors and with respect for them.
Just recently, outrage was sparked by a social media couple who decided to create an Instagram profile for their one-year-old daughter. Netizens objected to the explanation that the child made the decision himself, which had to be proven by the video. Community reaction suggests a concern for the image of the toddler that parents have at their disposal. It was an important vote that resulted in the deletion of the account. Influencers continue their story without secrets on the current profile, posting many photos of their offspring, whose possible voice on this topic will have to wait at least a decade. It can be expected to be taken in public, as in the case of the feud in front of the fans of Gwyneth Paltrow, who once again disregarded her daughter’s advice in 2019. “Mom, we talked about it. You can’t post anything without my permission,” the 14-year-old Apple’s comment on a selfie shared on a ski lift left no room for doubt. In France, such posting of photos is liable to a fine of up to 45,000 euros – this also applies to parents, and local authorities have repeatedly warned them against posting images of children on the Internet.
family stories for sale
While a youngster is unable to maintain discretion, whether due to his interest in the lives of famous parents or their deliberate actions, he can earn money almost immediately. In the virtual world, the interest of advertisers is inherent in the nature of pregnancy. The market value of children’s products in Poland is PLN 14.9 billion, according to the PMR report “Retail trade of children’s products in Poland 2021”. This represents almost 15% of the value of the entire Polish e-commerce market.
Expectant and new parents are a segment of consumers who, like no other, are ready to use recommendations, as well as to make purchases spontaneously and with emotion. The popularity of the parenting category in the influencer world, however, ignores the problem of the relationship between parents’ right to freely use social media and children’s right to privacy. Instagram families introduce recipients to their personal world, showing homes, traditions, daily activities, and the emotions and natural expression of a child that elicits sympathy from adults. The greater the engagement, the more profitable the advertising contracts are.
Storytelling is often a pattern for a child and it is impossible not to notice that many toddlers enter the popular parent’s story fully aware of communicating with the outside world. Instagram parenting also has a place to talk about issues and educate, which carries the risk of exposing the child’s privacy – for example by talking about illnesses or fears. Virtual space for younger generations is a natural environment, but above all an important part of their identity. Online activity determines traits, group status, and even social status, values that are overlooked by the age of several years, when emulating parents who broadcast their lives seems like fun and public history a rash is no problem.
The Internet has not only permeated the entire social structure, but also enables it to operate at different times and dimensions. A trip to a past that hides reasons to be ashamed is just a few clicks away. From the perspective of classmates, family stories and the image formed on the web a few years earlier do not have to be cool, and from such a situation close to complexes or problems with peers. Blurring the line between private and public life can also lead to problems in relationships, as influential children often grow up believing that sharing their personal lives is common practice.
It is difficult to clearly predict the realities of the digital world in a few or a dozen years. Even being aware of the dynamic development of technology, but observing many Instagram families, you may have all kinds of concerns. For example, the emergence of new disorders that will reflect online maturation. It is already certain that nothing is lost online and that in an ideal world, the activity of mothers and fathers would not affect reputation. It remains to be believed that there will be a way for everyone, whatever the nickname and the vision of their parents, to have a chance to wipe the slate clean online. Maybe it will be the right to change your first and last name?