After Pink expressed concern over 14-year-old Piper Rockelle’s social media presence, the young YouTuber responded, reassuring fans and followers that she’s fine
You don’t need us to tell you that raising teenagers isn’t for the faint of heart – add the minefield of social media to the mix and it’s clear why we think parents deserve every accolade in the damn book.
Over the weekend, Pink took to Twitter to express concern over the social media presence of a teen YouTube star, fearing for young social media stars who might be “exploited by their parents.”
“How many kids like Piper Rockelle are being exploited by their parents?” the singer wrote on Twitter on Sunday. “And at what point do the rest of us say … ‘this isn’t okay for a 13 yr old to be posing in a bikini whilst her MOTHER takes the photo?!?!'”
Piper, a 14-year-old who shares singing and dancing content to her YouTube channel and has nearly 5 million followers on Instagram alone, responded to Pink’s concern, reassuring fans and followers that she’s not being exploited.
“I don’t think Pink has ever seen one of my YouTube videos because if she did, she’d see it’s just my friends and me having fun and acting like ourselves,” Rockelle told TODAY Parents. “The content we make is the kind of stuff anyone can watch.”
Of Pink’s worries about her bikini photos, she said, “There’s nothing wrong with being in a bikini. Why do we shame people for that? Pictures of teenagers in bikinis having fun are not sexual. They’re only sexual if you view us that way.”
She also pointed out that Pink herself was 14 when she joined a girl group and began pursuing music professionally, asking, “Why was it OK for her to follow her dreams but not OK for me to follow mine?”
Piper’s mom Tiffany, who also serves as her manager, told TODAY that she is helping her daughter pursue her dreams. “Since Piper was a child, she has had a strong love of performing and she has always had a dream. So long as Piper wants to do this and it’s her passion, I’m here for her to follow that dream and protect her.”
The eighth-grader reiterated that sentiment to TMZ, adding, “The first thing I want everyone to know is that my mom doesn’t make me do anything. Quite the opposite, I’m a kid who had a dream and my mom is amazing enough to help me live it out,” adding, “I know there are kids who are being taken advantage of and that’s a real problem, but I’m not one of them.”
Reactions to Pink’s tweet have been mixed, with some fellow parents noting that they share family photos of their children in swimwear at the beach or pool frequently, and others expressing similar worries about Piper’s online presence.
Even To Catch a Predator‘s Chris Hansen gave his thoughts, placing blame on social media platforms themselves for “doing very little to detect and prevent this exploitation.”
Here’s hoping that Piper – and all other young social media stars – are receiving the support, care, and protection they need as they navigate not only just their teenage years but also being in the spotlight at such a young age. The conversation is an important one to have, and has become more prevalent in recent months (see: fellow former teen stars like Britney Spears and the baby from Nirvana’s Nevermind album cover) and will hopefully help bring more awareness to the necessity of protecting children and teens online.