“Generation Alpha” Social Media Stars To Watch
Who could’ve predicted way back when I was born that there would be social media influencers in the future, let alone social media influencers who are my daughter’s generation? In the evening, Eileah and I like to check out the social media platforms and I would like to call out two little girls who have become a part of my 20 month old daughter’s and my life in the last 5 weeks.
The first little girl we stumbled upon while discovering the new social app TikTok. Her name is Eliza and she is 15 months old. She was diagnosed with an incredibly rare/aggressive cancer called Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumor (ATRT) and began chemotherapy July 25, 2019 at 11 months old. She is slated to be through with her chemotherapy sometime in early 2020.
The second little girl we stumbled upon on Instagram. Her name is Zahara Bean, but she goes by Zaza, and she is 4 years old. She released her first single August 28, 2019 called What I Do?. She had been creating such a sensation quietly online that Ellen Degeneres had her on her talk show this past September.
Her interview was so cute that anyone who didn’t know her knows her now because video of her appearance went pretty far on social media. That’s how we all seem to find out about things these days, social media.
And that’s the common denominator with these two little girls: without social media we would not know them.
The Social Media Generation
The reason I’m bringing up Eliza and Zaza is because they make me wonder about how my daughter and her generation will turn out. They are Generation Alpha, born between 2010 and 2025, the first generation that will never know a time before social media. Think about that. No other generation has so collectively had their life so publicy documented as Generation Alpha. The social media accounts of parents are full of photos documenting their children’s lives from before they were born all for the public to see. But do parents really know what’s best for their child when it comes to social media?
Even if you’re not a parent who posts a lot on social media, you know you’ve posted at least one of these photos:
- the we’re pregnant photo
- an ultrasound of the baby photo
- a “look how big my baby bump is!” photo
- first photo with your baby in your arms photo
- or photo of their feet or their hands touching yours after being born
And whether intentionally or unintentionally some kids become social media stars from their parents sharienting about them. Here’s a new term you might not know, it’s called mommy and me influencing. It’s where mom influencers create independent brands for their children “leveraging their relationships with brands and social media marketing skills” (Christine Michel Carter – Forbes). This new tool in the parenting tool box is considered not only investing in your child’s future but also helping them monetize their life for years to come. Will it soon be the new standard of parenting in the foreseeable future? Is it normal? Is it healthy? Is it right?
“I have moms ask me all the time, ‘Why should I start a social media page for my child?’ My answer is this: if executed in a purposeful, strategic fashion, when the child turns 18, they will have their own business. What better gift could you give your child than generational wealth?”Destiney Green quoted in Forbes
Wouldn’t it be cool if all this creating profiles, websites, etc. by parents and sharing everything about their kids from the time they’re born back fires and Generation Alpha ends social media, thus bringing back private life? I wouldn’t be surprised. But on the other hand it’s possible that when they grow up Generation Alpha will just make fun of us for managing their “brand” so ineptly.
Social media use has become as natural a thing to do as taking a walk in the park. It’s this giant unintential global experiement that we’ll have to see how it shapes this young Generation Alpha and how they will shape it. What’s great about it is that it enables us to support a little girl like Zaza realize her dream of being a famous performer and a little girl like Eliza pay for her cancer treatment. That’s really cool if you ask me. But it’s important to remember to take social media with a grain of salt; not every child can become a social media star. And most importantly, if used for the wrong reasons or inapprotiately, social media can negatively impact a child’s future inevitably. Thus we as parents have a responsability to take seriously how much social media is in our child’s life and how we teach them to view it and use it because what happens in the future depends on what we do now.
My Little Girl’s Social Media Presence
When my daughter was born my husband and I were very thoughtful about how we wanted to approach social media once she was born. We exercised caution at first, for example we asked family not to post photos of her until we had made the official birth announcement post. Afterall all privacy is precious. Our home addresses are online without our consent, how easy would it be for someone you didn’t know to find out where you live and kidnap your child after seeing a cute public photo of them on social media? This is one of the risks you take as a parent creating a digital footprint for your child. After much thought I made the decision to create a Facebook and Instagram account for our daughter Eileah. A movie she stars in called Girl On The Third Floor was going to come out in a few months and her name was listed in the cast list for the movie in all the major movie directory websites. If you’re going to have a presence online you want to control your image and the information about you as much as you can. So I’ve started her Facebook and Instagram accounts, tagged them in every photo we’ve ever shared of her on social media so she can easily see everything we’re sharing about her. We don’t know if she’ll like to pursue a career in movies or another public role, but at least she is set up to take the reigns when she is old enough to manage her online presence.
In the meantime I will continue to share occassionally a cute photo or video of her with friends, family, and fans, with no expectations of going viral, purely for sharing a piece of light with others in the hopes of brightening their day, just like Eliza and Zaza do with their social media transmissions. So my daughter Eileah and I will continue to follow the journeys of Eliza and Zaza the same way you keep in touch online with friends. It’s human nature to be interested in what other people are doing and I can’t wait to see how all three of these little ladies will grow up.
How You Can Help Eliza
The statistics on pediatric cancer are depressing:
- Only 4% of the billions of dollars that are annually spent on cancer research and treatments are directed towards treating childhood cancer.
- Only 4% of federal government cancer research funding goes to study pediatric cancer.
- Since 1980, fewer than 10 drugs have been developed for use in children with cancer, as compared with the hundreds of drugs that have been created exclusively for adults.
- The average cost of a stay in a hospital for a child with cancer is $40,000.
Source: National Pediatric Foundation
There are countless organizations and people who are trying to counteract these statistics by raising money and awareness, but there is still a disparity in how adult and pediatric cancers are being funded and treated.
If you can, please find it in your heart to donate to Eliza’s gofundme page. While her family is not impoverished, helping someone is one of the greatest things if not the greatest thing we can do.
You can follow Eliza on her journey on her parents’ accounts:
What Zaza’s Been Up To
You can follow her here on social media: