A mother has sparked controversy after transforming her one-year-old son into a social media influencer.
Stacey Woodhams from Essex runs an Instagram account on behalf of her son Ralphie which has garnered over 15,000 followers.
She ensures that a new post of Ralphie is shared everyday often spending hours styling him for upcoming shoots.
A post shared by Ralphie (@ralphie.rw) on Nov 30, 2018 at 6:24am PST
A large majority of the posts are sponsored images of her son in a bid to promote everything from children’s clothing to shampoo.
New Childs Farm Rhubarb and Custard 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner cleans and detangles hair in no time. Fragranced with vanilla custard and organic rhubarb extract this bottle comes with a WARNING that you may end up eating your child. It smells just like the old fashioned sweets! Designed for all hair types and suitable for newborns and up. Dermatologist and paediatrician approved as suitable for sensitive skin and also safe for people who may be prone to eczema. @childsfarm #childsfarm #eczema #bath #gifted #sensitiveskin
A post shared by Ralphie (@ralphie.rw) on Nov 1, 2018 at 10:37am PDT
As a result, Woodhams and her husband have received over £10,000 worth of freebies from bedroom furniture to paid-for days out to Lapland.
A post shared by Ralphie (@ralphie.rw) on Nov 25, 2018 at 1:25pm PST
In order to maintain the picture-perfect online persona she has created for Ralphie, Woodhams has even gone so far as to ban other family members from sharing photographs of him via social media.
She told The Telegraph, “If a photo of him in a tracksuit with snot running down his face and his hair is messy gets put on social media, that is not representative of the brands we are representing”.
“It sounds awful referring to him as a brand because he is a human and a child but essentially, the name that we have created is a business,” she added.
Unsurprisingly, her child’s social media presence has sparked criticism from fellow parents with many accusing her of being an “unloving mother”.
In response, Woodhams has defended her career choice.
“What I do doesn’t define me as a mum and people should think carefully before commenting as suicide happens because of online trolls,” she explained. “They’re factoring into that pool of online abuse and it’s just nasty and could be detrimental if the receiving person wasn’t in the right frame of mind.”
Woodhams then went on to explain that celebrity mums such as Kim Kardashian are protected by their wealth and status when trolled for sharing images of their children.
A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on Nov 21, 2018 at 2:48pm PST
“I think it’s wrong that Kim Kardashian gets pardoned and can share intimate family videos and people support her and buy into her brand yet I share a gorgeous picture of Ralphie and I get called a terrible mother just because I have no status.”
A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on Oct 26, 2018 at 7:19am PDT
She added: “I’m sure she gets abuse too but it’s different – she’s protected by the super scale of her success so she couldn’t possibly see everything written online, whereas small time accounts are trolled directly and it’s hard.”
In recent news, a report by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner revealed that children have on average 1,300 pictures and videos of themselves posted online by the time they’re 13.
Although it’s no longer unusual to see parents create an online profile for their kids, do you think it’s a good idea?
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