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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Gone are the days of parents leafing through newspaper pages for activities they can enjoy with their kids.

Now, younger generations of parents turn to their phone, and increasingly social media apps like Instagram to find events, activities and recommendations.

“You gotta keep up with the trends,” said Andrea Krasnow, who runs the Instagram account @ThisKansasCityMama.

Her feed is peppered with recommendations, things to do, and a peak behind the curtain at the day-to-day life as a parent.

“I think what captures people are the really pretty [posts], but also just letting you know, ‘Hey, I haven’t posted for a while and here’s why,'” she said.

That honestly helps forge a sense of relationship that can be powerful even if a follower and influencer don’t interact in person or over social media.

“We really try to think of what problems moms have and how can we help solve them,” said Kansas City Mom Collective sales director Laura Mulcahy.

Kansas City Mom Collective is the local arm of a larger national model. In Kansas City, it brings in content from a bunch of different contributors to put together itineraries for weekend trips, event guides for big events in Kansas City, and smaller details that can make or break an outing.

“She knows exactly where to park, what she can feed her kids, and how long she can expect to be there and how much fun they’re going to have,” Mulcahy said with a smirk. “You feel like, ‘OK, I can conquer this and we will do it again.'”

As more influencer accounts pop up and they continue to gain more followers, the key is trust.

“This generation and what this age of moms is looking at more is social media,” Missouri School of Journalism associate professor Elizabeth Stephens said. “That’s where they’ve found community and found their place.”

She said parents keep coming back because they bond with influencers and see them posting information and recommendations in the way they might talk to friends and family. That means often showing the good and the bad.

“The influencers that are honest and real with you about not just the highlights of their lives but their struggles. I think that is kind of where moms can really resonate with that,” Stephens said.

But the opposite can also backfire.

Stephens said it might not be so helpful when influencers only post the picture-perfect version of outings, omitting the more human, messy moments. It can make parents feel like they’re coming up short when their kids can’t spend as much time at a destination, or activities and events don’t go as planned.

She recommends treating “mom influencer” content in the same way we should constantly evaluate all the social media we consume: reevaluating how it makes us feel from one moment to the next and avoiding it when that feeling isn’t positive or helpful.

Part of preserving the trust is making it clear when content is sponsored, meaning the influencer has been paid to write about it. It’s a tightrope to walk for all influencers, balancing the ability to make money off a social media account with the trust followers put in an account’s recommendations.

That’s why Krasnow said she’s picky about who she partners with.

“That is a really fine line because if you put sponsored on so many things, then what is really you?” she asked.

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