Exploitation of children on TikTok
Newest trend is exploitation for the parents’ gain
With the recent release of Jennette McCurdy’s book, I’m Glad My Mom Died, the conversation about child exploitation for the sake of media has become louder than ever. As TikTok has risen in popularity, many have made their living through content surrounding their children. Unlike television and movies, social media has no laws for child labour, and parents can exploit their children as much as they want with no repercussions. Some children are plastered all over their parents’ social media so their parents can take in the cash. Here are some specific examples of parents using their children for financial gain on TikTok.
Jacquelyn is the mother of three-year-old Wren Eleanor, who the account is named after. The TikTok account has over 17 million followers. At first glance, this account looks like a wholesome page featuring a cute toddler doing normal toddler activities. Nothing seems amiss about what’s going on with little Wren. But, when you look closer at some of the posts, some of which have now been deleted, something sinister begins to unravel.
On TikTok, you’re able to see how many times a specific video has been saved. On a normal video of Wren, the post will receive a few hundred or maybe a couple thousand saves. Videos of the little girl in a bathing suit have over 100,000 saves, along with videos of the little girl holding a tampon. Those videos have millions of views. For a short period, when you searched ‘Wren Eleanor’ on TikTok, it would auto-fill to “Wren eating hotdog [sic].” Wren is a toddler, and she is being sexualized on the internet. Comments on the post show men saying a three-year-old is ‘hot.’ The comments are predatory. Rumours have been circulating for months that photos of Wren are on CSAM sites. The concern for this little girl is valid even if the rumours are false. 17 million people is a lot of people to look at one little girl and trust that their intentions are pure.
Jacquelyn, Wren’s mother, has responded to the concerns for her daughter, but her statement was dismissive. She did not seem overly concerned about photos of her child being on inappropriate websites. But she did turn off the ability to save the videos of Wren.
Maia Knight became popular on TikTok for being a single mom with twin girls, Scout and Violet. Her account has over 8 million followers. She is very loved on TikTok, but she is still guilty of exploiting her children and other bad behaviour.
While on vacation, Maia left her twins unattended in her car while she went to the beach with friends. She has admitted that she’s left the twins in dirty diapers for over an hour. There’s a video of her dropping her baby after drinking alcohol. There is more than one video of the twins eating off a public bathroom floor while Maia films. Like Wren Eleanor, videos of Scout and Violet have disgusting comments sexualizing them.
Regarding their privacy, Maia does not put in much effort. She has publicly said places she goes with her twins. People online have been able to find the location of her home and her mother’s home.
The case of BebopAndBebe is a fascinating one and has been growing rapidly. Their spike in popularity comes after rumours of the pair being kidnapped started circulating online. There is no solid proof that the mother and daughter duo are kidnapped, but that did not stop people online from finding real missing person cases and linking them to the pair. BebopAndBebe has over 4.6 million followers. Not only do they have a successful TikTok channel, but the young girl has also competed in child beauty pageants.
Like the previous two, there are some videos of Bebop, the little girl, that are considered to be inappropriate. Some videos show her on a leash. She is always wearing a full face of makeup in every TikTok. There are multiple videos with racist undertones that appear to be racially motivated. But you cannot blame a child for her appearance in these videos. She’s six years old, and her mother is most likely behind the TikToks.
Bebop has a brother named Peyton, and leaked screenshots that are supposedly from Peyton give a little more information than the mother would care to share. When a fan asked him “ohhhh [sic], ok but like fr [sic] are you being forced into these videos,” he responded “yea.” After these screenshots came out, the mother forced Peyton to make a public apology. This apology has been deleted from the mother’s account. In the video, the mother says, “what did you lie about?” and Peyton responds, “that I was forced,” and then the mother made him repeat the sentence again. The apology video is incredibly uncomfortable because the child seems like he’s being forced to apologize and another man, presumably the father, is standing right next to him.
Piper Rockelle first started growing on the internet in 2017 after starring in a web series. Since then, her YouTube channel has grown and so has her TikTok. Piper is 15 years old and has 8 million YouTube subscribers and 8 million TikTok followers. Piper has also been mentioned when discussing children being sexualized on the internet. As of August 2021, 93.5 per cent of Piper’s Instagram followers were men.
There has been a lot of controversy about Piper and her mom, Tiffany, over the years. In 2017, at the age of 36, Tiffany kissed an underage boy while live-streaming. This boy claimed that Tiffany gave alcohol to Piper who was nine years old at the time, and that Tiffany tried to take him into her bedroom. A mother who knows both Tiffany and Piper claimed on an Instagram Live that Tiffany sends photos of Piper to a stalker in exchange for designer clothes. The kids who make videos with Piper are often forced by Tiffany to work for over 12 hours a day and are told that if they spent time with people outside of Piper’s circle, that they won’t be allowed to make videos with Piper anymore. According to Piper’s Instagram, you can pay $1500 to meet and hang out with Piper.
Tiffany is currently being sued by former members of Piper’s inner circle for physical, verbal, emotional, and sexual abuse. Court documents allege that Tiffany was “sexually inappropriate and confrontational” towards the young kids. The girls had to wear “short skirts and low-cut tops” while in Piper’s videos. Tiffany and Piper are both countersuing the former members for attempting to lie about the sexual abuse in order to extort money.