Wren Eleanor, is a blonde, blue-eyed girl, who has over 17.4 millions followers and over 570 million likes on TikTok. Her videos are nothing extraordinary. She dances, sings, tries different cloth on and plays. What is noteworthy about Eleanor is that she is 3 years old and her account is managed by her mom Jacquelyn. She is a toddler and does ordinary toddler stuff, considered sweet by most adults.
Then some users noticed that the regular and innocent toddler things Wren does on her page, like playing with water balloons, trying new foods and sporting cute outfits, are not perceived by all viewers equally innocent.
One user, @hashtagfacts, pointed out that some videos posted on the account were saved considerably more than others: a video of Wren wearing a cropped shirt was saved more than 45,000 times. A video of her eating a hotdog was saved almost 375,000 times. She also pointed out that some comments on Wren’s videos were unsettling and that popular searches for Wren’s account included phrases like “Wren Eleanor hotdog” or “Wren Eleanor pickle,” with similar searches appearing on Google.
The disturbing and dark side of the internet showing its ugly face caused many moms with similar accounts and images or videos of their little kids delete and filter any image which could be abused.
The Wren Eleanor case revived the issue of protecting kids from online threats once again, and unfortunately not for the last time.
Parents’ worry is not only about videos being watched or saved, but as experts and NGOs dealing with the issue also confirm, once predators are attracted to a certain account or minor, they could go further and contact children, sometimes posing as minors themselves and groom them to send them explicit images or even try to meet them in the real world.
“Parents have to understand that when you’re putting this information out to the public, you’re opening up your world to the entire outside world,” Walsh said. “And anybody on these social media platforms — especially if your, if your page is public — Anybody in the entire world can view and consume the content that you’re putting out there and…” Calahan Walsh, executive director of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) told Fox Digital.
There is no easy and simple solution to the problem. Every kid, even under ten years olds, have a smart phone which they take to their beds and bathrooms. Digitalisation has exploded without much instruction and education to kids and youth. Parents should be vigilant and aware of the way their kids use their digital devices and go around in the cyberspace as much as, if not more than in the real world.