EXCLUSIVE: Why Hayden Kho Is Our Favorite IG Dad (And What He’s Teaching Us About Social Media This Father’s Day)
Scarlet Snow Belo is arguably the cutest kid on Instagram. The three-year-old daughter of power couple Hayden Kho and Dr. Vicki Belo, little Scarlet Snow’s appearances in more than two million IG feeds attest to her heart-melting ability to lift our days with pockets of sunshine. With her mischievous ways, her disarming smile, and the glimpses we’re allowed into her charmed life, she’s breezed into our screens and our social media lives with little more than a giggle and the scrunch of her button nose.
In the age of curated content, dad Hayden keeps it real. He knows what cyberspace is like and how hard it is to maneuver between privacy and public settings—if not on our accounts then in our daily lives. He knows of real issues like identity theft and fake accounts, as well as the real connections social media can form between people. He negotiates between these pros and cons to produce one of the most winning and disarming accounts on Instagram.
As curator of Scarlet Snow’s IG account, he’s protective but fun; he’s a chronicler, but he hides their personal lives as much as he reveals Scarlet’s cutest moments. He allows us glimpses into their everyday shenanigans—but they’re only glimpses—and we’re allowed to believe that we share in Scarlet’s best moments as though we were titas in her living room, or eating a slice of cake with her in the kitchen. Through everything, the content doesn’t feel over-produced or scripted; it feels as real as they come. Hayden also wants to use the account to educate kids on how to use social media responsibly. He knows that each of us has a message for the world, and that there’s more to learn about unpackaging this message in a way that’s wholesome and life-giving for our followers—should they count in the millions, the hundreds, or the tens.
In this exclusive interview with Metro.Style, Hayden tells us about being a protective dad in the digital age. Below are edited excerpts from the interview.
What’s the reason behind making an account for Scarlet Snow on IG?
Believe it or not, the reason for her IG account is actually for her own protection. By nature, I am a very protective person and I am aware of the threat of identity theft in cyberspace. The internet is obviously not going away and our little Scarlet Snow will grow with this kind of environment, so aside from providing physical, emotional, and financial security, I determined that we also have to protect her from these future “cyber risks.”
I know of a child celebrity who did not have a social media account. Someone took advantage by putting up a fake account. That account had more than a hundred thousand followers and was soliciting gifts and donations from his followers. When the parents of the celebrity child found out, they created a real account for him to try to regain the followers. The problem is they couldn’t convince social media users that theirs is the real account.
Social media is here to stay. Before Scarlet Snow was born, I already created Facebook/IG, Google, and Apple accounts for her. I think the question we should be asking is how we should teach our kids about the proper use of social media. Since social media is a means of connecting and communicating, what big message we should encourage them—and the timing on when to teach them is obviously a big point of discussion too—to send out to their current and future followers. For Scarlet Snow, it’s about faith, family, good values, and good humor. We avoid negative words and themes.
How do you protect your child from the minority of naysayers on social media?
If their comment is valid, I humble myself, acknowledge their comment, and avoid making the same mistake again in the future. If their comment is nonsensical, I either ignore them or block them.
As a general rule though, I try to be very cautious when listening to comments and opinions of people who don’t really sincerely care about her. There are billions of varying opinions in the internet. At the end of the day, we are Scarlet Snow’s parents, and I don’t think there’s anyone else in this world who can care more about her than Vicki and myself.
What’s the best thing about being a father?
I think the best thing about being a father is that I am given the privilege of seeing the world again through innocent eyes.
What are the things you do and the lengths you go through to keep the feeds fun?
We’re just having fun as a family. Scarlet Snow prides herself in being funny and silly, and we find it cute so we share some of them. People are only getting a very small glimpse of what it’s like to be with our family. There are so many more things she does that are cute or funny, but we’re not able to capture them on our phones.
Photos from @dochayden @scarletsnowbelo