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Instagram accounts for babies are becoming more popular. This is what parents should consider


Instagram accounts for babies are becoming more popular. This is what parents should consider

"Flashback to when I was a banana. How cute is my mummy and daddy?"

This looks like the kind of caption you might see for a post on Instagram, except it was "written" by Georgii before he was born.

Georgii is one of a growing number of babies and young children who have their own social media accounts.

These accounts are usually set up and run by their parents, and while some are concerned about sharing kids' photos online without their consent, the fact is many of us share our lives online. So why wouldn't we include the biggest part — our children?

"Young parents of today have grown up a bit with social media … we are very aware of our own digital identity," says Joanne Orlando, social researcher and commentator on children's digital lives from Western Sydney University.

"People are [starting accounts for their children] for different reasons. Some parents are setting up private accounts, while a lot are setting up pages that are public."

We spoke to Dr Orlando as well as two parents who have created online accounts for their children to discuss what we should think about when shaping a child's online identity.

Why we're creating social media accounts for our kids

'A portable photo album'

Seven-week-old Georgii was building a social media profile before he was even born.

While pregnant, his mum Sapphiroula Pelecas opened an Instagram account on his behalf after playfully searching to see if one by that name already existed.

"Then we were mucking around on it, pretending like Georgii was already here. It was just a bit of fun for us," says the Brisbane-based influencer and fashion designer.

Before Georgii was born, Sapphiroula would post pictures of herself with husband Nick Condoleon by her side.

"Selfies with Mum and Dad — one more month to go world!" reads one caption.

The parents both have access to Georgii's public account, which has more than 2,000 followers.

What started as a bit of fun for the couple became like a "diary", Sapphiroula explains.

"I like Instagram for recording memories. It's like a photo album you always have with you.

"He is the first grandchild too, so our parents love it. When they go out they can show their friends his page."

Sharing with family and close friends who live far away

Jo Joyce is a deputy editor with ABC Life. She and her husband Rob created an Instagram account for her son, aged three. When his younger brother came along it became a combined space to share their photos.

It's a private account with 25 followers who Jo says are made up of close friends and immediate family.

"At some point we realised that our family wanted to see pictures of him [their firstborn]," explains Jo — especially for family who lived interstate.

"We wanted to share pictures but also keep them somewhere as a digital record for us that was a select number of images we could both contribute to."

Keeping your own identity

Jo says her sons' account allows her to keep her own Instagram for other things she enjoys posting about.

"I didn't want to just become a mum. I am that and it's awesome, but I am also the same old me I always was — with a whole bunch of other stuff I like to do, talk about and share on social media," she says.

Sapphiroula says Georgii's page also allows her to maintain an identity outside being a mum.

"I've had my own page for so long and [I use it] like a job," she says.

Commercial interests

Creating social media accounts for children can also be for monetary reasons, explains Dr Orlando.

"A lot of parents are getting [their child] out there and their identity known, often with a commercial purpose in mind that they might become an influencer in some way."

She says whether the account is designed to make "a business out of your baby" or you're "just a super proud mum or dad who just wants to show how gorgeous your baby is", there can be downsides.

Considering your child's safety and wellbeing

Because Jo didn't want images of her children to be public online, posting photos of her kids to her own public Instagram account wasn't an option.

"The main thing was their safety and photos being used by the wrong people."

It's something Dr Orlando would encourage parents to think about when sharing images of their child.

"Be careful of the kinds of photo you put up. You need to think of all the people who can look at those photos and the strangers with unsafe intentions," she says.