By now, you will all have seen the story. Australian influencer Kat Brown announced on her podcast that she is taking her 12-year-old daughter Deja out of school to focus on her burgeoning social media career.
“Since coming into this new career, there is a lot of traveling involved. I’m often flying to Sydney … so that nine to five, Monday to Friday schooling isn’t working for us,” she explained.
Call me a stickler for details, but the word “us” slipping out might be more meaningful than we realize … Namely, it begs the question of whether this dream or career is actually for the child and/or whether it’s more of a case of Toddlers and Tiaras (and ring-lights).
Can a 12-year-old even consent to such a big, life-altering decision like that? According to Kat, it’s the right move because she’s said before that Deja is teased “because of who she is.” But is further isolating a child who already feels ostracized by her peers the right move?
I know that “letting your kid quit school to be an influencer is bad” is hardly the hot take of the century. But more than anything, it does feel like a child labor issue.
Under U.S. federal law, children must be at least 14 years old to work (unless they work in agriculture). And even then, their work hours are largely restricted until they turn sixteen.
A lot of people like to say that influencing isn’t a ‘real’ job, but it is. And a pretty hard one that that.
So, if Kat’s 12-year-old will be presumably spending 9-5 traveling and working as a kidfluencer, this leaves her mother wide open to claims of child labor. And where exactly would the money Kat’s child make go? Would they even see any of it?
When all is said and done, there’s plenty of time to be the next big thing online when you’re an adult. Childhood, on the other hand, is precious and fleeting. It’s also difficult to think about cases like this without immediately comparing it to that of Lil’ Tay, who, after being the victim of a death hoax by her father, revealed some pretty disturbing truths about growing up as a social media starlet.
It’s arguable that we should mind our own business and not pass judgment on parents priming their children for internet fame, but by condoning this, it feels like we’ve learned nothing from the cautionary tale of Lil’ Tay. Pageant moms are out, kidfluencer moms are in. God help us all.