Episode 97: YouTube’s Young Stars

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For many young YouTubers, video isn’t just fun, it’s a family money-maker.

Parenting Bytes: YouTube's Young Stars

Their Tube

For most people, YouTube is a place to waste time watching other people’s videos and maybe post an occasional video of your own. But for a growing number of kids YouTube is a money maker that demands a lot of their time.

A new article in the Washington Post (part of the excellent The Screen Age series by Jessica Contrera and Caitlin Gibson) titled “Their Tube” explores what childhood is like when your every move is being captured on camera for strangers to see. Author Jessica Contrera talked to us today and the conversation was fascinating. Jessica spent time with the families she profiled and it sounds like it was a bit of a surreal experience at times. There was one little boy, part of a YouTuber family, who always seemed to be “on” and performing for a non-existent camera. Jessica honestly wasn’t sure if he knew he wasn’t being recorded.

So what does this kind of lifestyle do to kids long term? And what about the kids (like Amy’s daughter) who want to be YouTube stars, but didn’t realize just how difficult it is to make it big? Rebecca’s day job is co-founder of KidzVuz, a video platform for kids. She’s seen a huge change in the five years since starting the site. At first, parents were reticent about allowing their kids to post videos online. Now parents come to KidzVuz demanding that they make their kids YouTube stars!

What most viewers probably don’t realize is just how much work goes into those popular channels. The kids simply aren’t doing all of the work themselves, it’s often a family affair. So where is the money going? Are the children being exploited? We talk about all this and more.

Episode Links

Jessica Contrera, The Washington Post

Their Tube, by Jessica Contrera – The Washington Post

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The Next Level, by Caitlin Gibson – The Washington Post

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