Queensland mum slammed as kid becomes influencer

A mother has hit back at those criticizing her for making her four-year-old son a influencer.

Nina Gonthier’s son Jerome has his own Instagram profile with 97,000 followers.

Jerome’s account dwarfs that of the influencer and model mum by 25,000 followers, with the Queensland boy earning several thousand dollars a year thanks to his brand deals. Mrs Gonthier said the money was being invested in her son’s future.

The mother-of-two, who appeared on The Project to hit back at critics on Monday night, started sharing her life online almost a decade ago.

She decided to document her pregnancy, and that’s when lots of baby-centric brands started sending her products to test and review, like strollers and prams.

Things went mostly smoothly, but as Jermone’s following grew, Ms. Gonthier noticed that other accounts were stealing her son’s photos and posting them as their own, according to Four corners.

A fake adoption agency in the United States even listed Jerome on their website with photos at various stages of his life.

“At this point, when I was working to shut down the website, I blocked Jerome’s profile,” Ms Gonthier said. The project.

“It was a bit of a scary moment and a slap in the face of what it can really be like. But once that was all sorted out and the chaos calmed down, I got back into it without a hitch. There are always risks in these things.”

However, despite this shocking experience, Ms. Gonthier continued to post and make money on her son’s behalf. But many accuse Ms Gonthier – and other parents like her – of putting their children at risk.

“That’s not entirely the case. It’s no different than Best & Less, Big W, Bonds using children to advertise their products. For me it’s just behind the scenes and you can see what the reality is,” she said.

Ms Gonthier said she didn’t think she was posting anything her son would find embarrassing, but as he gets older, the decision is ultimately up to him if she wants to continue.

There has been a huge push for regulation in this ‘kidfluencer’ and ‘family vlogging’ space as there are no laws in Australia that specifically regulate children’s influencers. While the Australian market is relatively small compared to the US, experts are clamoring for one.

Tama Leaver, Professor of Internet Studies at Curtin University, said A B C in 2022 that he would like to see Australia follow France, which has rules governing how long a child can work online, all money goes into an account they can access at 16 and platforms must remove the content of a child if requested.

The Australian Influencer Marketing Council launched a code of practice in 2020, and for Journal of the Law Society Stephanie Scott, of Media Arts Lawyers, said there were current child labor laws that could be amended to cover this area.

Ms Scott said there is currently a “grey area” where if the child’s work is managed by an agency then the agency handles all work permits, but when it is managed by a parent it is not so clear.

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