The YouTube Stars Your Kids Love Decoded
Our friends at Common Sense Media are breaking down the most popular YouTube stars among kiddos so parents can get in on the fun.
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. (Check out "A Parent's Ultimate Guide to YouTube" for tips on managing your kid's YouTube time.) 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.
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. And not necessarily age-appropriate. Some, such as the 7-year-old star of Ryan ToysReview, 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 multiplatform, 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. But be aware that many YouTube videos — even ones hosted by kids — may contain mature content. And while plenty of kid YouTubers are safe bets, there are some pros and cons about the entire enterprise.
On the Up Side:
- Videos tend to be relatively brief, bite-size 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 (i.e., your kids). It also can be a creative and educational hobby, but there are some risks. If your kid wants to try it, get tips on doing it safely.
On the Down Side:
- Language and content can be an issue, especially with gamers and any tween and teen vloggers.
- Your kid will be seeing 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 kids.
Here are some of the most highly subscribed kids on YouTube. Check our guidance on which ages they're best suited for: