Wren EleanorShe is a blonde, blue-eyed girl who has over 17.4 million followers and over 570 million likes on TikTok. Your videos are nothing extraordinary. She dances, sings, tries on different clothes and plays. A notable thing about Eleanor is that she is 3 years old and her account is managed by her mother Jacquelyn. She is a toddler and does common toddler things that are considered cute by most adults.
Then some users noticed that the normal and innocent things Wren does on her page, like playing with water balloons, trying new foods, and wearing cute outfits, are not perceived as equally innocent by all viewers.
One user, @hashtagfacts, pointed out that some videos posted to the account were saved significantly more than others: a video of Wren in a cropped shirt was saved more than 45,000 times. A video of her eating a hot dog has been saved nearly 375,000 times. She also pointed out that some comments on Wren’s videos were troubling and that popular searches for Wren’s account included phrases like “Wren Eleanor Hotdog” or “Wren Eleanor Pickle,” with similar searches popping up on Google.
The disturbing and dark side of the internet rearing its ugly face has caused many mothers with similar accounts and pictures or videos of their young children to delete and filter any image that could be abused.
The Wren Eleanor case has revived the issue of protecting children from online threats once again, and unfortunately not for the last time.
Parents’ concern is not just about watching or saving videos, but as confirmed by experts and NGOs working on the topic, once criminals are attracted to a specific account or minor, they could go further and contact children, who sometimes impersonate themselves as minors and groom them, send them explicit pictures or even try to meet them in the real world.
“Parents need to understand that when you make this information available to the public, you open your world to the entire outside world,” Walsh said. “And everyone on those social media platforms — especially if your page is public — everyone around the world can see and consume the content you post there and…” Calahan WalschExecutive Director of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), to Fox Digital.
There is no easy and simple solution to the problem. Every child, even under the age of ten, has a smartphone that they take to bed and the bathroom with them. Digitization has exploded without much instruction and education for children and young people. Parents should be vigilant and aware of how their children use their digital devices and navigate cyberspace just as much, if not more, than they do in the real world.