Mommy blogger comes under fire after ‘exploiting’ her children for likes on social media
With the rise of social media over the past few years, just about anyone and everyone can achieve fame and notoriety on the internet. Beautiful young people market themselves as 'Instagram models', avid travellers and bloggers use the term 'social influencer' as a job title, and full-time mothers attain scores of likes and shares by posting about their day-to-day lives online.
Unfortunately, some people let the attention get to their heads.
Katie Bower, a parent of five and so-called 'mommy blogger', came under fire yesterday after supposedly exploiting one of her sons on his birthday to get more engagement on her Instagram page.
In a since-deleted post, Bower shared a picture of her son, Weston, celebrating his sixth birthday. But her comments about him were not at all kind.
After saying that she was "thankful" for her son, she went on to complain that he was not as "popular" as his brothers or sister when it came to social media:
"Guys I am gonna be perfectly honest...Instagram never liked my Munchkin and it killed me inside. His photos never got as many likes. Never got comments. From a statistical point of view, he wasn’t as popular with everyone out there. Maybe part of that was the pictures just never hit the algorithm right. Part might be because he was “the baby” for a very short amount of time...And people like babies. I say all that because I want to believe that it wasn’t him...that it was on me. My insufficiency caused this statistical deficit because obviously my Munch should get ALL the love and squinty eyes are totally adorable."
Then, she asked her followers to wish the boy a happy birthday or like the photo, "Because I truly KNOW that my Munch deserves alllllll the likes...whether or not a stranger gives it to them."
The post quickly gained traction on Twitter, where users were horrified to see the mother comparing her son to her other kids and seemingly berating him for not being as useful to her brand as the rest of her family.
"Full-time mommy bloggers scare me," said Twitter user Nora Horvath. "These women use their kids' faces to promote content and products that they will make money off of. It is the 2018 version of turning your kids into child stars and profiting off of them, and who knows what kind of long-term impact it'll have?!"
"Oh. My. God. What in the hell??" commented Chrissy Teigen, who often shares pictures of her own family on social media.
Meanwhile, someone else shared screenshots of a message exchange they'd had with Bower.
What's more, another person pointed out that the mother had always seemed to favour Weston the least.
The problem that people had wasn't so much that Bower shared pictures of her kids on the internet, but that she depended on them to build her brand as a mommy blogger, and subsequently put an intrinsic value on their "performance" on platforms such as Instagram.
It should not matter to her how many likes or comments her kids get, and she should not be relying on them to further her sponsorship deals or brand partnerships. This post implies that she does, however, and that's what people are taking issue with.
Hopefully, this incident will have made her realise that her children are not pawns to be used in her business, and that all her kids deserve the same amount of love and affection.