Sunday 20, May

Are celebrity baby Instagram accounts OK?

It's the news the world has been waiting for - or at least her 75.1m Instagram followers.

'Child as an accessory'

Nicole James agrees: "It would be a place for me to stick all the endless baby pictures that won't annoy my friends, and it's also like a little memory book I can pass on. You can always make the account private."

Yvonne Vincent says she wouldn't create an Instagram account for her baby "but part of me thinks some celebrity kids are going to grow up without privacy anyway so what does it matter? It's treating your child as an accessory, which is pretty horrible really".

Indeed, there are many famous names who deliberately don't put pictures of their children on social media - or if they do, their faces are obscured - including TV presenters Holly Willoughby and Emma Willis.

Award-winning blogger Jen Walshaw, who runs parenting website Mum in the Madhouse, has been posting images of herself and her two boys on her Instagram account for several years.

She says it's all about being mindful of what you post, especially as they get older (the boys are now 12 and 13).

Jen has also never used her sons' real names.

"I've never posted pictures of them naked or on the potty. I've never called them by their first names [they're referred to as Maxi and Mini].

"But now I want them to be judged for themselves and tell their own stories."

The eldest has his own account, which Jen says is private and "has about four pictures of football boots!"

She cautions: "You've got to bear in my mind they're the first generation growing up with this digital footprint that they haven't created.

"If my two wanted me to delete all the posts, that's their prerogative."

But if you land financial bonuses as a result of your online life, there are more factors to consider.

Jen says if she benefits financially from her Instagram posts i.e. a free holiday "and it involves the boys, we make a decision as a family".

"The payback might be that they get the experiences," she explains.

Dr Victoria Nash, deputy director of the Oxford Internet Institute, agrees that people should think before they post.

"We are becoming much more aware... in the early days, we put pictures of kids up willy nilly.

'Later embarrassment'

"The major pitfalls include increasingly recognising that children have rights of consent. Who owns a child's identity?

"It's impossible to really delete anything from the internet. Even if in five years, they delete the account, someone may have screen-shotted it. You have to think about the type of picture you post - could this be embarrassing later?"

Dr Nash says we are becoming more aware of what might be appropriate - "it's more common for people to ask permission from other parents to post pictures of their children online" - but she says most of us still post our holiday pictures for all to see.

Where celebrities are concerned, Dr Nash suggests they should look at their motives: "Am I using my child to further my own celebrity? I don't want to judge as I've not been in that situation but it is a consideration."

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