Today’s media savvy parents are purchasing their baby’s domain name, Facebook and Twitter names before the child has even been born! It is not just the celebrity crowd securing their child’s name in cyberspace, as more parents recognize the growing influence of social media and maintaining a professional reputation online.
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt quickly reserved www.ShilohJoliePitt.com and a number of domain names with variations of her name the day she was born. However, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes failed to reserve SuriCruise.com – resulting in a short-lived site that counted down the days until she turned 18. It is not only celebrities, however, that are interested in reserving their baby's domain name.
"My husband purchased the domain name of my daughter's name before she was even born," said Jennifer Burg, aka 'The Suburban Mom.' "I keep a blog as a journal of her life, and right now the domain points to that. But the idea is that she will always have it."
The baby name wave of the future?
Burg is not alone in wanting to reserve a domain name for their child. Parents have many reason for wanting to make sure their child's moniker is secure in cyberspace, from wanting to protect their name to helping them market themselves in the future or even as a way to share photos with distant family. For around $9 a year, companies like GoDaddy.com make buying your baby's domain simple.
"In this day and age, I think it's important to own your name as much as possible," said mom Allison Manley, who said she recognized early on celebrities buying their names to control the content put up on the web. "I purchased my own name and a combination of my and my husband's names so I could have them, or use them eventually as I saw fit. That way if another 'Allison Manley' came along who became famous or infamous for any reason, I could control at least partially how it affected me. "
Manley said she bought her son's URL when she was still pregnant with him. "When he's old enough, we'll give it to him to control for himself."
Reserving social media names
What about reserving your child's facebook name or twitter name? It is hard to dispute the importance of social media in today's culture, but will this influence be the same in the future? Some parents aren't willing to take the chance that their child's name will be associated with someone inappropriate or will be snatched up by someone else.
Actress Tori Spelling has created a twitter account for her son, 3-year-old Liam, and he currently has over 29,000 followers! She even tweets as Liam, posting messages like, "I want to be a grown up! Gown ups take lunches and own cats."
Many parents, like Tori, reserve twitter and facebook names and use them to post pictures or keep in touch with distant family.
"I don't see anything wrong with having [twitter accounts for kids]," says Burg. "I would do it if I were [a celebrity] so no one else could use their name for publicity reasons."
Creating self-centered kids?
Not all parents think reserving your child's domain or facebook/twitter name is a good idea.
"I think setting up websites and Twitter accounts dedicated to a child feeds into their natural self-centeredness in a way that could ultimately be unhealthy for them," says Dianne Martz, mother of two. "There are a myriad of problems in today's world with kids feeling entitled and that they do not have to be responsible for anything because Mommy and Daddy will take care of any problems for them. A personalized website/account focusing on how wonderful the child is will only reinforce this attitude and ultimately make it difficult for the child to learn how to get along, on their own, in the real world where there are bosses and police officers and judges and coworkers."
Manley agrees, thinking that tweeting is taking it a bit far. "I think it's a tough call. You wonder if Liam will be embarrassed when he's older that everything he said was out there for the whole world to see. It's not something I would do, but if Liam's parents feel he's safe and that he won't have a problem with it, that's their decision."
Tell us: What do you think about reserving your baby's domain name or facebook and twitter names? Comment below!