While most 6-year-olds are playing with slime, racking up points on Candy Crush, or swapping Pokémon cards, Anastasia Knyazeva is busy building a high-profile modeling career that has seen her hailed as the “most beautiful girl in the world.”
Having starred in a number of ad campaigns in her native Russia, Anastasia, who is represented by President Kids Management, has also amassed over 529,000 followers on her Instagram account, which is run by her mother.
Anastasia’s mom regularly posts snaps of her daughter on shoots and fronting campaigns, as well as an occasional behind-the-scenes peek at their lives.
And each photo receives hundreds of comments about the youngster’s doll-like features and striking blue eyes.
Anastasia, known as Anna, is following in the footsteps of French model Thylane Blondeau, now 16 years old, who was famously named the world’s most beautiful girl at age 6 — and went on to become the youngest model to be featured in French Vogue.
Another young Russian model, Kristina Pimenova, was also described as the most beautiful girl in world at just 8 years old. The mother of the young model, who is now 11, was forced to hit back after she was accused of sharing provocative pictures of her daughter on social media.
Despite the enormous support on Anastasia’s Instagram page, some followers have criticized the child’s mother for allowing her daughter to have a social media account at such a young age.
So how young is too young for children to be exposed to social media? While Instagram accounts for babies and young children are undeniably cute, some experts believe introducing little ones to a world of “likes” could be opening them up to a digital world they didn’t sign up for.
“The problem with baby branding is that firstly you are sharing information about them without their permission, and secondly you are creating a voice which isn’t actually theirs, and this means that people are getting to know you and not your child,” explains psychologist Emma Kenny.
The most obvious danger is that of security. Kenny says, “Sharing pictures, media, and social content online isn’t very safe statistically, and with recent figures suggesting that grooming online is at pandemic levels, protecting your child needs to be a parent’s priority.”
The issue of consent also needs consideration. Though it’s tempting to share every single moment of your child’s life, it is worth thinking ahead to when they become a teenager and might not be so fond of that shot in the bath.
The fact is that young children can’t give their consent to having every detail of their life posted to social media, so it’s impossible to know what they will think about it when they get older.
“As your child grows up, they may enjoy reading all the sweet comments from nice followers, but equally they will be open to online abuse and analysis, and for a developing child this can be disastrous for self-esteem,” explains Kenny.
Parent Zone’s editor, Gemma Taylor, believes there are some guidelines that need to be adhered to if parents are thinking of setting up social media profiles for their little ones.
“As Parent Zone’s research with Nominet showed, parents love sharing images of their kids on social media, with mums and dads posting on average 11-20 images a month,” she says.
“It’s natural for parents to want share special moments with friends and family.”
But you do have to be careful, particularly once your child gets older.
“Our research showed that over a quarter of parents (28%) admitted they had never thought to check if their child minded them uploading images of them online. I think this raises an interesting conversation around consent,” Gemma Taylor continues.
“We’ve already had a teenager in Austria suing her parents for sharing images on social media, and French lawyers have warned parents they could be violating that country’s privacy laws by doing the same.”
“Adults need to be aware that as children grow up, they may not want their formative years exposed in such a public way. It’s also hard to control images once they are posted online, so, before uploading, it’s good to consider, ‘is this in the best interests of the child?’
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
- The ‘most beautiful girl in the world’ is all grown up!
- Is 8-Year-Old Kristina Pimenova the Most Beautiful Girl in the World?
- Baby North West Outshines Kim Kardashian — Again