Parents reserving email ids, Facebook & Twitter profiles for the kids | Last Concept

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Parents reserving email ids, Facebook & Twitter profiles for the kids

Viaan Raj Kundra, the son of Bollywood actor Shilpa Shetty and businessman Raj Kundra, has turned two on May 21. He is one of those babies worldwide, whose parents thought he needs a social media profile. After all, that could determine who you are in the days to come.

"Already since creation, there are ten different impostors of my son. The idea to register Viaan early was to avoid fake accounts. I didn't want it to be a scenario where in the future he has to add @iamviaan or @theviaan like Shilpa and I have had to due to some impostors having snatched our names and pretend to be us," says Kundra. The account will be handled by his parents until he is of legal age, he explains.

In an age where many people are known just by their online profiles more than by their individual names, parents, fearing their kids would be lost in the social media world when they grow up, are blocking appropriate email ids, Facebook profiles and Twitter handles. It is not just celebrity parents like the Kundras, but also regular ones as well who are reserving these names and are using these profiles to send out updates and pictures of their kids to fans and family.

"Creating an account at such young age makes the child popular when he grows up and helps when he/ she decides to enter the same line of business. One has to be careful of what they say on such platforms as it reflects your identity," says Jogesh Lulla, head of social media at Cornerstone, a celebrity management company.

While currently there is no age requirement for Twitter, Facebook requires users to be at least thirteen to join and create a Facebook profile. Also most of the accounts are verified by parents, who declare the authenticity of accounts. Twitter refused to participate in the story. "Twitter does not comment on individual accounts," it said. The trend is catching up.

Rohin Dharmakumar, an entrepreneur, has bought his son a .com domain, while Hrish Thota, one of the most active social media mavens and evangelists in the country with 80,002 followers on twitter alone, has opened his 3-year-old son Reyansh Thota on Facebook within a month of him being born (May 2013).

Bangalore-based homemaker Sharika Nair did her part in helping her daughter Mili define her digital footprint by creating a Gmail account in her name around four years ago — when she couldn't even type out mails. "I had heard of other parents doing this and I wanted my daughter to have an email account," said Nair, a former advertising executive. "I wanted an email id with just her name and was not sure if she would get one if we waited until she was old enough to create it on her own."

The account is used to send news related to kid and her photographs to grandparents and aunt. "My father sends emails with study-related advice and other general advice to Mili," said Nair. The intention is to hand over the account to Mili when she is in high school and she will have ready access to the loving emails written to her by her extended family when she was a child.

Parents like Nair are operating their kids' accounts with feeds that range from birthday party images to sharing thoughts on school, friends and everything that concerns them. This not only helps one manage records — for instance photo albums, events and memoirs on Facebook but also helps in keeping the account active.

"In my case I got the idea when I saw many people have profiles for their cats and dogs... So, I thought why not have one for my son? He can start using it when he is 13, assuming using Facebook is still cool then," says Thota. Reyansh has around 50 'friends' who are mostly friends and families. Thota makes sure that the safety is not compromised too and ensures privacy and security by keeping all content "Friends Only" even if they are my pictures in which he is tagged.

"Children born in today's times cannot be brought up with globalisation values from our times vis-avis the 90s. We wanted our children to have a digital legacy as well, whenever they are ready to take over the working of their account," says Celina Jaitley, Bollywood actress. She mostly, tweets on other children related occurrences from the twins account.

Jaitley, who married Austrian businessman Peter Haag, introduced her twins to twitter when they were just two weeks old. Celina and husband has locked twitter handle for twins @winstonjhaag and @viraajjhaag. The duo has also created Facebook profiles and Gmail accounts so that impersonators do not have an opportunity to violate their famous names due to the background that they come from. Adhvith Dhuddu, chief executive officer of AliveNow, a full service digital marketing agency said one of the reasons why celebrity parents create their children's accounts is to prevent it from being misused.

"There maybe thousands of fake accounts created by the child's name and creator of those accounts could also encash on the popularity of the name used." However, though this trend is fascinating, the question that arises is, will these digital platforms — Twitter, Facebook and Gmail — be pertinent when these kids grow up?