Wren Eleanor and #savewren: Mum forced to defend TikTok daughter after content ‘found’ on child pornography sites
WARNING: Distressing content
Three-year-old Wren Eleanor loves the colour pink and playing with her toys, and she dreams of being a “skeleton” when she grows up.
The seemingly typical American preschooler has captured the attention of almost 18 million people around the world – but not always for the right reasons.
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WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Jacquelyn weighs in on dark web
In 2019, Wren’s mum Jacquelyn set up a TikTok account, @wren.eleanor, to document her daughter’s growth.
The first video she posted was a 12-second clip showing Wren as a newborn, and Jacquelyn has since been uploading seemingly mundane videos of her now-toddler.
However, the unemployed ‘mum-ager’ has come under fire for “exploiting” her child – the account earns a lucrative income for the single mum – and for possibly putting the little girl at risk.
What started as an apparently innocent pursuit has evolved into something far more sinister – with claims online that Wren’s content is appearing across the dark web and on child pornography sites.
The speculation has forced Jacquelyn to seek advice from police and the FBI, who she says have found “no proof” that Wren’s image has been misappropriated.
Yet the mum is continuing to document her little girl’s development for all the world to see – sparking international outrage and an online movement to “Save Wren”.
In a recent three-minute video statement on TikTok – which has been viewed more than 10 million times – Jacquelyn tried to address the worldwide concerns.
“Wren is my number one priority and her upbringing and safety are my top job 24 hours a day,” she said.
“You need to know that no law enforcement agencies that I conferred with, including the FBI, have found any proof that my daughter’s likeness appears on inappropriate websites.
“These rumours are 100 per cent false.”
‘Stop posting your kids online’
Jacquelyn says she started the TikTok account to record her daughter as she grew up.
“What started out as a hobby to make a digital (record) for my daughter Wren grew into an interesting role for me as a single stay-at-home mum,” Jacquelyn said, adding she receives income from posting brand-related content.
The first video posted in 2019 bore the caption: “Man’s lady”.
It has been viewed 238,000 times, has more than 18,000 likes and has been saved 868 times.
In a more recent video, Wren is shown trying to catch a water balloon which pops, leaving her top sopping wet.
The clip has been viewed 16.9 million times, has more than 538,000 likes and 13,300 saves.
During the past three years, the huge growth of the account has caught the attention of viewers – particularly its approximately four million male followers.
Many have left disturbing comments.
“I love these images, I will take them and put them in my room,” one male wrote.
“She is so mature for her age,” another male commented.
“Your daughter is so cute,” another read.
Setting into motion #SaveWren, internet sleuths have started using the hashtag – and digging deeper into the individuals who are leaving inappropriate comments.
However, it is the app’s “save” feature that is now the centre of concern, with worried Wren supporters claiming her content is being privately distributed.
The save feature allows users to store videos on TikTok or share them to other social media accounts.
TikTok users point out predators can easily use the screen-recording feature on a smartphone to save content directly to their mobile, without being traced.
Supporters of Wren quickly began reaching out to Jacquelyn advising her of some of the “creeps” in the comments and the number of saves her videos were receiving.
Others turned to social media platform Reddit, sharing screenshots of the top search terms in regard to Wren, in a bit to highlight the gravity of the situation.
Across both TikTok and Google, terms such as “@wren.eleanor eating hotdog”, “@wren.eleanor eat pickle” and “@wren.eleanor balloons in pants” were just a few frequently searched phrases.
Some even claimed they saw Wren’s videos being shared on pornography sites.
However, their cries went unnoticed in the thousands of comments that Wren’s content was amassing.
Concerned mothers began using #SaveWren to create their own videos, warning other parents of the dangers of online predators.
On the back of videos such as Wren eating the hotdog – which has been saved nearly 375,000 times – anxious parents began removing images of their own children from their accounts.
When US mum Makayla Musick came across Wren’s, she told Fox News Digital she had: “Always known there were sick people in the world that do these kinds of things.”
“Wren’s story brought a lot of light to all the sick people in the world,” Musick said.
“So, I decided to remove my own daughter’s photos from anyone who is not close family/close friends.
“I took the initiative to remove her photos before anything like Wren’s situation could happen to my own daughter.”
Musick is not alone.
Thousands of mothers around the world are acting on the so-called “Wren Effect”, in which parents are removing their children’s social media footprint due to the emerging situation with Wren Eleanor.
In the US, Jacquelyn began deleting videos and comments and went silent for a few months.
In her recent video statement, the beleaguered mum said the past few months had been “incredibly distressing”.
She also noted the “rumours” that she had discovered in the comments section of her posts.
“Creating videos talking about churlish rumours that my three-year-old daughter appears on porn sites isn’t proof,” she said defiantly.
Jacquelyn said police and the FBI had found no connection between Wren and the dark web, adding that, “Wren is a happy, healthy three-year-old.”
She says she will now dedicate time to filtering comments and blocking individuals she deems inappropriate.
But the mum says there is no evidence behind the claims that Wren’s image has been misused, and she will continue to document her toddler’s life online.
“Do not mum shame me because we have different parenting styles,” she said.
She ends her statement by asking if anyone had “proof” of her daughter’s content being used inappropriately to contact her directly using her email address in her bio.
Jacquelyn’s video didn’t silence the rumours, with many Wren supporters continuing to express concern.
“Yet will STILL continue to exploit a child for money,” one commented.
“Truth of the matter is she doesn’t care. The money is too good … so she’s gonna do what she please regardless,” another agreed.
Reddit accounts dedicated to Wren’s safety continue to claim that Wren’s videos are all over illegal websites and that predators continue to lurk in the comments.
TikTok creators also continue to use the “Wren Effect” to educate parents on the dangers of a child’s online presence.
Australian Federal Police say child cyber security is more vital than ever.
How to keep your children safe
- Keep your child’s personal information, including full name and age, private
- Ensure the background of photos or videos doesn’t give away your address or location
- Avoid posting photos in school uniform
- Only share images of your children with people you know and trust
- For community accounts, consider having a closed group, with strong privacy settings in place.
How to report online child abuse
- If you believe a child is in imminent danger, call police via triple-0 or visit your local police station
- If your child is experiencing issues online, it is essential to collect evidence – taking screenshots or photos of the content. Once you have collected your evidence, block and report on the app, site or platform where the issue occurred.
Online child sexual exploitation can be reported to the ACCCE (Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation) or to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
If you or someone you know is impacted by child sexual abuse or online exploitation, support services are available.
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