Let Children Be Children, Even Online

These young ladies may look familiar to Twitter users.

Emery Bingham (left) and Sarah Dorothy (right)

Videos of besties Emery Bingham and Sarah Dorothy doing their makeup, singing and fake fighting have been circulating the internet, and a lot of people have something to say about it. On Instagram, Bingham often posts selfies done up in makeup and fake hair, sometimes seemingly influenced by specific celebrities and social icons. The comments under these photos are littered with scorning remarks and hate, often arguing that the 11-year-old should not be wearing so much makeup or trying to act so adult-like.

There are issues with what these children are doing: society’s strict beauty standards are suffocating for any adult, so for a child to feel the need to follow along is disheartening. It is also worth mentioning that as the popularity of vloggers and social influencers grows, younger generations are being brought up with an idea that their lives and everything that happens in them are worth broadcasting, possibly instilling a construed, ego-driven complex into them. However, negative aspects aside, these young people are simply exploring their creativity, following an interest they have been explicitly exposed to and just having fun.

The culture of social media and “Insta-fame” has created a platform for these girls to become famous. How many 11-year-olds were playing with makeup and taking mirror photos with their phones 10 years ago? The answer is a lot of them, there was just not a place quite like Instagram to post them.

In this video, Bingham and Dorothy are rapping and dancing together in long wigs and unicorn onesies. So what?

Before social media erupted, children were making dance routines to their favorite songs at sleepovers; they were creating scripts and putting on skits together; they dreamed of becoming internet famous in an era of low-quality comedy YouTubers and British vloggers who had to work for years to gain enough subscribers to make a name for themselves. I know this first hand because I was doing it—and a lot of you probably were too. The only difference now is that adults have given goofy children the resources to exploit their goofiness to the world—of course, they are taking advantage of it!

There should be concern about how much freedom children have online, but at the end of the day, what is there to be angry about? Allowing kids to be creative and enjoy themselves is important, and they should be allowed to do so without the pressure of teens and adults demonizing them.