In today’s digital age, some parents believe that investing in their children’s online presence is just as important as investing in their finances and education. For example, Nick Kratsas, a father, created an email account and a Facebook profile for his newborn daughter, Sophie, so that she could have a strong digital history when she grows up. Similarly, Chelsea Moylan, another parent, created email addresses and private Instagram accounts for her daughters, Josie and Franny, planning to hand over the accounts when they turn 18.
Creating a digital footprint at a young age raises privacy concerns, however. Ethics become more complicated when parents start posting photos of their kids on social media. Experts recommend that parents post photos discreetly and be aware of policies governing children’s presence on social media. For instance, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok require users in the US to be at least 13 years old to open an account.
Despite potential concerns, getting these accounts is considered an inexpensive effort for a potentially high reward. Parents find it important to have a degree of control over this newer and more unpredictable element of life. ‘I understand that it’s an advantage to be able to do some sort of reputation management on your child’s identity,’ explains Frances Corry, a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Digital Culture and Society at the University of Pennsylvania.