• Professor Crystal Abidin
  • Associate Investigator
  • Curtin University

Professor Crystal Abidin is a world-leading expert in the field of influencer cultures and internet celebrity studies, including a portfolio researching children and the commodification of childhood on social media. Crystal’s publications on the topic were among the first in the world to study the generational origins of child influencers, and the theorising of children who become ‘internet famous’ as memes or through viral videos. Her role in the Centre will examine the regulation of children in the influencer industry, child celebrities on TikTok, and celebrity children in the K-pop and Korean social media industry. Crystal’s hope is for children to develop the ability to hone and exercise agency in an environment that increasingly digitises them from birth, and influence culturally-informed pedagogical development as tech giants are increasingly colonising internet access around the world.

Crystal has worked as a policy advisor for various initiatives at major tech companies, including expert policy contributions to the Involuntary Public Figures who are Minors guidelines by the Product Policy Team for Facebook, and expert policy contributions to guidelines on Underaged users and child influencer accounts for Instagram. She was named by The Australian as one of the nation’s Top 40 Early Career Researchers in the Humanities, Literature & Arts category (2021). Crystal is the Founder of the TikTok Cultures Research Network and Programme Leader of Social Media Pop Cultures at Curtin University’s Centre for Culture and Technology.

Earliest digital memory
I was given an electronic piano at age 3, and spent several hours of my childhood replicating every song I’d heard. This eventually led to years of semi-professional orchestra training as a young adult!