The Child YouTube Stars Your Kids Love

While many kid YouTubers are safe bets, there are some pros and cons about the entire enterprise.

For some kids, it’s not enough to watch YouTube videos. Some kids want to make them, too. And a growing number of under-20 YouTubers are doing just that – and earning good money. Whether they play “Minecraft”, review toys, make music videos, or just rant, they’re attracting other kids in droves.
With millions of viewers, young vloggers are regularly among YouTube’s top 50 most-subscribed-to and most viewed, becoming nearly as influential and vital to kids as TV. (Check out “A Parent’s Ultimate Guide to YouTube” for tips on managing your kid’s YouTube time.)
Like all things on YouTube, kid vloggers come in all varieties. Some, such as tween gamer LTCorbis, are completely independent, self-funded, and self-motivated. Some, such as the seven-year-old star of Ryan’s Toys Review, are directed by their parents. Some are part of larger content-creation groups, such as the Fine Brothers Entertainment channels Kids React and Teens React. Most YouTube kids also are multi-platform, cultivating audiences on Instagram, Musical.ly, Snapchat, and Twitter and even writing books.
It’s natural for kids to be attracted to watching other kids. And while many kid YouTubers are safe bets, there are some pros and cons about the entire enterprise.

On the plus side

  • Videos tend to be relatively brief, bite-sized chunks of news and entertainment (ideal for kid attention spans and schedules).
  • The hosts are interested in the same subjects your kids are, and they look and talk like them, which gives your kids a sense of connection.
  • When kids choose their own entertainment, they often don’t spend time on stuff they don’t like. They tune into specific vloggers, who deliver incredibly relevant information that’s tailor-made to their interests.
  • The fact that these kids are earning thousands (and even millions!) can make vlogging look like an attractive undertaking to fans. It also can be a creative and educational hobby, but there are some risks. If your kids want to try it, get tips on doing it safely.

On the down side

  • Language can be an issue, especially with gamers and any tween and teen vloggers.
  • Your kid will see a lot of advertising. Ads are how YouTube and its users make money, and the ads are not all age-appropriate.
  • Many YouTubers, especially toy reviewers, get stuff for free in exchange for coverage on their channels. They may or may not disclose that fact. But your kids may not understand that sometimes what they’re watching is essentially advertising.
  • According to YouTube’s terms of service, users must be at least 13 to run a channel. The fact that there are so many kid bloggers makes it seem like younger kids are permitted. Kid bloggers usually state that their parents actually own the channel, but this fact could be lost on your children.

Here are some of the most popular kids on YouTube and guidance on which ages they’re best suited for:
Ryan’s Toys Review
This seven-year-old has been creating toy-demonstration videos (with the help of his mom, who directs and works the camera) since age four. Now, with more than six million subscribers, the videos of Ryan playing with cars, trucks, superheroes, surprise eggs, and Play-Doh are some of the most viewed on the entire internet.
Quick take: Ryan’s Toys Review features tons of products, including expensive ones, like kiddie cars. The family donates a lot of the toys to charity, but the “reviews” give the companies lots of publicity.
Best for: Preschoolers and little kids
Evan Tube HD
He started with a stop-motion “Angry Birds” video at age eight. Now 12, Evan’s videos, featuring unboxing, toy reviews, and food challenges have billions of views, millions of subscribers, and spin-off channels featuring his sister and family. Oh, yeah, and millions of dollars in yearly revenue.
Quick take: Evan’s videos are filmed by his father, and they are all family-friendly and fun – if product-heavy.
Best for: Little kids and tweens
Kid President
Teen actor Robby Novak portrays the character Kid President on the thought-provoking channel Soul Pancake. Kid President poses innocent, but profound questions such as, “What makes an awesome leader?” He has done TED Talks and has been invited to the White House.
Quick take: Through his many “pep talk” vlogs and musings, Kid President gets kids to think deeply about civic engagement.
Best for: Big kids and tweens
Kids React and Teens React
Produced by the internet content-creation team Fine Brothers Entertainment, these series feature kids and teens viewing and commenting on viral videos. Through their reactions and impressions, the audience gets a glimpse into how young folks perceive the world and the people in it.
Many of the kids and teens of React (including singer and actress Lia Marie Johnson, now on AwesomenessTV) also have their own channels and cultivate audiences independently of the series.
Quick take: You have to know a little about viral videos and internet trends to really “get” these shows. Kids (and parents) can learn how to view media more critically by watching other kids express their ideas.
Best for: Big kids, tweens, teens
EthanGamer
While mostly known as a gamer (“Roblox”, “Minecraft”, and “Pokémon”), this British tween has branched out into unboxing videos, candy reviews, and toy reviews.
Quick take: If you’d like to find a mild-mannered gamer for your kid, Ethan is your boy.
Best for: Tweens
Jacob Sartorius
A singer-songwriter at the tender age of 14, Sartorius also reaches millions of fans on Musical.ly, Twitter, and Spotify. His single “Last Text” amassed over four million views, and he has designs on becoming as famous as another singer-songwriter kid who got his start on YouTube (Justin Bieber).
Quick take: A talented, likable entertainer whose music, while not groundbreaking, is easy on the ears.
Best for: Tweens
Mark Thomas
This teen entertainer has mastered the art of cross-platform self-promotion. In addition to his YouTube channel, he has a social media presence under the name Duhitzmark on Twitter, Instagram, and Musical.ly. Kids – mostly girls – like him for his heartthrob looks, sexy moves, and original videos.
Quick take: Adults may not necessarily understand the appeal, but kids go crazy for his stuff, including sexy, grinding dance moves and explicit music.
Best for: Tweens
Brooklyn and Bailey
Seventeen-year-old identical twins Brooklyn and Bailey got their start on their mom’s beauty vlog, Cute Girls’ Hairstyles. They now upload slickly produced videos on a range of subjects from dating to fashion to DIY.
Quick take: There’s nothing not to like about these charming blue-eyed beauties – unless, maybe, they’re too perfect?
Best for: Tweens and teens
Matty B Raps
This 14-year-old singer-songwriter uploads songs, music videos, skits, and other material to the delight of his two million-plus fans. He launched a cross-country tour based on his YouTube success.
Quick take: Matty B often features his friends (many of whom are girls) on his vlogs, which offer a glimpse into his seemingly charmed teenage life.
Best for: Tweens and teens
Awesomeness TV
AwesomenessTV is a youth-oriented entertainment brand, sort of like MTV but web-based (although it had a show on Nickelodeon for a while, too). It features teens and 20-somethings who vlog, sing, and perform on the channel’s original scripted series such as “Chat.Like.Love” and “Foursome.”
Quick take: While stars’ individual vlogs are mostly mild, the scripted series can be edgy.
Best for: Teens
LtCorbis
LtCorbis is actually a middle schooler named Sophia. She vlogs, tweets, and shows up on gaming sites such as Steam and forums such as Reddit. Her combination of intelligence and expletive-laden rants draws fans, who are enthralled by her off-the-wall observations.
Quick take: Her videos may have some value for gamers, but overall she seems embittered beyond her years.
Best for: Teens
Bretman Rock
With his jet-black hair, clear blue eyes, and steady stream of hilarious commentary on life, Hawaiian teen Bretman Rock has makeup tips that seem almost beside the point. He shares beauty techniques – and lots more – on his boundary-pushing channel.
Quick take: For a guy who specializes in makeovers, he’s endearingly down-to-earth.
Best for: Teens
Jay Versace
This teen got his start doing short, funny skits on the now-defunct video-sharing site Vine. On his madcap YouTube channel, he will do anything for a laugh, such as giving ridiculous advice, wearing wigs, fake crying, and even pranking his viewers.
Quick take: Though he’s super silly, he’s one of the most adept video editors on YouTube, and he conveys lots of humor through interesting splicing techniques.
Best for: Teens

9 Year Old’s Video Hijacked, Can’t Be Taken Offline

A 9yo made a video of herself twerking with friends, copying what they’d seen in music videos online. The video was hacked, and the content exploited.

The girls were nine when they turned the camera on and made a twerking video, playfully copying what they’d seen in music videos online.

In the time before it was removed from YouTube (thanks to the due diligence of author Kashmir Hill, an editor at Fusion), the video was hijacked by a hacker, collected over 70,000 views, and could not be taken down by the girls who put it up.

Hill, author of an extensive article published by Fusion, found the video in a database curated by Dr. Kyra Gaunt, Baruch-SUNY professor and author of The Games Black Girls Play.

Dr. Gaunt’s work explores the sexualization of young black girls online, and the enduring impact of posting videos on social media platforms like YouTube, where the content — often intended to be silliness among friends — is exploited. She explains,

“These girls are in their bedrooms playing, it’s not sexual to them. They’re just imitating what they’re seeing online. But imagine that there are 600 people peering into your 8-year-old’s bedroom. The cognitive, social and emotional impact may be real….”

The videos in Gaunt’s database were mostly filmed with smartphones, and many of them have been taken down for violating YouTube community guidelines. In their Teen Safety guide, YouTube tells its young users never to post sexually explicit content.

Like all tech companies, YouTube is not allowed to collect data from users under the age of 13 without the permission of their parents. This being the cornerstone of the Child Online Privacy Protection Act.

But everybody knows that kids long ago figured out how to lie about their age and get an account anyway. It’s this loosely guarded gate that leads to the dangerous crossroads of adult entertainment and child’s play.

Which is exactly what happened with the twerking video. What was done in fun was viewed as lurid and sexual by men who left disturbing comments, phone numbers, and pleas for more.

It’s not uncommon for these sorts of videos to be hacked, repurposed for predators, and even monetized. Based on analysis, the 600 videos in Gaunt’s database were viewed over 26 million times, profiting about $2 per 1000 views.

Imagine for a minute: your child posts a video, it’s hacked so she can no longer access it, users then pay to watch your daughter’s video as sexual entertainment, and the hacker profits.

This is not an isolated scenario — at least 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube each minute, of each hour, of each day.

As social media platforms become the world’s biggest forum for communication and expression, the tech industry struggles to outpace its most pressing moral dilemma: how to both profit from, and protect, the youngest users.

Parents should make no mistake: having an ongoing conversation with your children regarding their digital footprint, as well as clear and firm rules for screen time, is not just a matter of their responsibility and education, it’s an urgent matter of their safety.

Source: Fusion.Net

 

 

Open This Page And Hit “Play” for Your Best Modern Holiday Mixtape

15 songs you might not have thought of that capture the joy, nostalgia, spirt, melancholy, and silliness of the season. 

It’s Christmas, so we’re giving you two ways to listen to the Holiday Mix Tape.

  • Click here to open Spotify
  • Listen to the entire 15-song YouTube playlist below. (It looks like one video but each Christmas song will play in succession.)

1. Hallelujah, Rufus Wainwright.

A gorgeous hymn that’s not about Christmas. Written by Leonard Cohen and covered by many great vocalists. The title means “Praise the Lord,” the song is about sex, and Rufus Wainwright’s voice is that boozy eggnog you secretly like. Perfect for the holidays.

Lyric listen: There’s a blaze of light in every word / It doesn’t matter what you heard / The holy or the broken Hallelujah

2. 2000 Miles, The Pretenders.

Written in 1983 about The Pretenders’ original guitarist who died a year before its release. But, if you want, you can imagine that it’s a song about long distance lovers missing each other at the holidays. Or, you could just consider it a literal song about distance, because 2000 miles is actually very far.

Lyric Listen: In these frozen and silent nights / Sometimes in a dream you appear / Outside under the purple sky / Diamonds in the snow sparkle / Our hearts were singing / It felt like Christmas time

3. The First Song, Band of Horses.

It’s unclear if this song is about the birth of a child or the awkwardness of holidays with family. I dunno. DOES ANYONE HAVE THE INTERNET? For sure though, it’s a big ethereal sound coming at you from all directions. Turn it up.

Lyric Listen: And Christmas time coming / Hangover approaching / We’ve been drinking for long

4. Xmas Time Is Here Again, My Morning Jacket.

Off the Y2K EP, it’s a song about how Christmas is here again. CUZ IT KEEPS HAPPENING. MMJ’s rich harmonies make it a real purty song for the season.

Lyric Listen: Been tossin’ and a-turnin’ all through the night / I’ll be wide awake until broad daylight / ‘Cause Christmas, Christmas, Christmas Eve is here again

5. Winter Song, The Head and The Heart.

Not exactly about Christmas, definitely about winter. Expansive harmonies confess an aching heart. Warm, like fireplaces and hot chocolate.

Lyric Listen: Tell me somethin’, give me hope for the night / We don’t know how we feel / We’re just prayin’ that we’re doin’ this right / Though that’s not the way it seems

6. Please Come Home for Christmas, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals.

Bluesy, jazzy, sexxxaaayy. Straight outta Vermont.

Lyric Listen: Bells will be ringing this sad sad news / Oh what a Christmas to have the blues / My baby’s gone I have no friends / To wish me greetings once again

7. White Christmas, Otis Redding. Because Otis Redding.

Also, cheers to the white Christmases we used to know. Before global climate change tore us up inside.

Lyric Listen: I’m dreaming of a white Christmas / Just like the ones I used to know / Where the treetops glisten and children listen / To hear sleigh bells in the snow

8. Ain’t No Chimneys in the Projects, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings.

New old school funky soul reveals chimney-ghetto loophole. Spoilers ahead.

Lyric Listen: When I was a child I used to wonder / How Santa put my toys under the tree / I said, momma can you tell me how this can be? / When there ain’t no chimneys in the projects

9. Merry Christmas Baby, B.B. King.

My father was a huge B.B. fan and once gave me tickets to a show for Christmas. If it’s possible to add more value to a live B.B. show, then it’s my father narrating the history of the blues between songs and quizzing me the next morning on what I learned about cultural appropriation. So yeah. This track’s for my dad, Bluesman Johnny.

Lyric Listen: Santa came down the chimney / Half past three, y’all / Left all them good ole presents / For my baby and for me

10. Christmas in Hollis, Run-D.M.C.

Featured on the 1987 compilation album, A Very Special Christmas, it’s an ode to Christmas in Hollis, Queens. Upon its release, white people everywhere cried and clutched their children because, prior to this song, they didn’t know Santa was a homie.

Lyric Listen: Rhymes so loud and proud to hear it / It’s Christmas time and we got the spirit / Jack Frost chillin’, the hawk is out / And that’s what Christmas is all about / The time is now, the place is here / And the whole wide world is filled with cheer

11. Father Christmas, The Kinks.

Released in 1977, Father Christmas tells the tale of a department store Santa who gets beat up by a gang of disgruntled poor kids tired of getting nothing for Christmas. It rocks cuz it’s The Kinks.

Lyric Listen: Have yourself a merry merry Christmas / Have yourself a good time / But remember the kids who got nothin’ / While you’re drinkin’ down your wine

12. Fairytale of New York, The Pogues.

An Irishman sleeps off a bender in the drunk tank, dreams of lost loves and broken dreams. This tune’s mean, jubilant, and sentimental. Just like a drunk on Christmas.

Lyric Listen: You took my dreams from me / When I first found you / I kept them with me babe / I put them with my own / Can’t make it all alone

13. Santa Clause is Coming to Town, Bruce Springsteen.

#AMERICA.

Lyric Listen: Clarence, you been rehearsing real hard now? / So Santa will bring you a new saxophone?

14. Christmas Treat, Julian Casablancas.

My 8 year old says this song describes exactly how he feels. The original is awesome, but definitely waste a half hour on YouTube watching Jimmy Fallon, Horatio Sanz, and Morgan Tracy cover it on Saturday Night Live.
Or just watch this: https://vimeo.com/82542924

Lyric Listen: I don’t care what the neighbors say / Christmas time is near / I don’t care what anyone says / Christmas is full of cheer

15. Auld Lang Syne, Phish Live @ Worcester Memorial Auditorium, 12/31/91.

This is 53 seconds of pure nostalgia. Can you hear me tripping? Oh WAIT, I mean CHEERING. I was there! No lyrics. Just swirly elation and friends and tingly tinsel feels.

YouTube to launch kid-friendly Android app on Feb. 23

Finally! Also, this is the first time I’ve ever wanted an Android device.

Google is planning to launch a version of YouTube for children on Android devices Monday, according to USA Today.

The app, called YouTube Kids, will be free and will offer an easy-to-use interface as well as a selection of YouTube content appropriate for children.

“Parents were constantly asking us, can you make YouTube a better place for our kids,” the project’s group product manager Shimrit Ben-Yair told USA Today.

via YouTube to launch kid-friendly Android app on Feb. 23.

Girls Play Baseball: Lessons From Youtube

Girls can't play baseball? Hold it right there, grasshopper.
Girls can’t play baseball? Hold it right there, grasshopper.

 

A few days after Christmas, we slowly started relocating the gifts that remained under the tree to their proper resting places. Among the clothes, forsaken for noisier more exciting things, lay the baseball and glove given to my three year old daughter by her uncle. She had unwrapped it and accepted it graciously, if not enthusiastically, yet hadn’t touched it since.

“I don’t want this, Mama.”, she declared as she plopped it into my hands.

“Why not? Uncle Paul gave it to you. He’s the best.”

“I don’t want to play baseball. Girls don’t play baseball.”, she offered, matter-of-factly.

Here’s the thing. I don’t care how my kids suss out gender “norms”. It seems perfectly natural that there comes a point in each child’s life, when they begin to make delineations between themselves and the rest of the world. Having just started to wrap a rapidly developing brain around the fact that they are an individual, a being completely separate of their parents, there’s comfort in compartmentalizing what they observe. I just don’t want them to get lost in absolutes.

Without even bothering to argue, I ushered her over to the kitchen table.

“Come with me. Sit on my lap.”

As I sat the glove down alongside my computer, I pulled her up and typed “Mo’ne Davis” into youtube.

She watched quietly as the powerhouse of a teenage girl disproved that theory faster than the ball could fly.

After watching a few more, per her request, I asked, “So, do you still think girls don’t play baseball?”

“No. But I still don’t want to play it.”

That’s fine, little girl. So long as you know you can. I can live with that. And may your stubbornness serve you well.

Have you ever used Youtube to teach your kid a lesson? Any favorites that lay down the law?