That’s Ryan Kaji.
He’s 8 years old.
Ryan has more views, fans, and subscribers than you’ll ever get in your life.
Is that a good thing though?
The answer might be that it depends on who you ask.
Your kid comes up to you and says “Mummy/Daddy, I wanna be a YouTube star! Can you post a video of me on YouTube, pleeeeeeease?”.
What do you say?
Do you oblige, refuse, explain why you don’t think it’s a good idea, or why maybe you think it is a good idea but that in all honesty you just can’t be bothered doing it right there and then?
I’ve faced this exact dilemma and it’s not a unique one. My daughter is the exact age as Ryan.
My friends that have kids my daughter’s age have been asked this same question by their kids too.
A few of them gave in and filmed adorable but potato quality videos of their kid playing video games and uploaded it to YouTube.
My issue isn’t the quality. Obviously.
The issue is that it is friggin creepy.
Filming your rugrat, uploading said rugrat to the Web for the entire world to see and turning your new-found hobby into a multi-million dollar enterprise, amassing tens of billions of views, millions of subscribers, selling thousands of toys, getting into legal battles (Ryan Toys Review)…all with your kid, being the mascot of your gargantuan new enterprise forever and into DIGITAL INFINITY.
That’s weird bro.
Knowingly or not you’ve just nullified any potential right to privacy that your kid had.
I’m not pretending I’m some kind of moral arbiter. As a parent we all make mistakes and I am certainly far from perfect. Just ask my wife.
This thing just strikes me as one of those situations that’s a really bad idea. And it might not be apparent from the start to the parents. Or anyone else, but I think in due course we’ll all be scratching our chins and wondering why we ever thought it was a good idea.
So as I was saying; My daughter asked me directly if she was allowed to make a video of herself on her tablet and upload it to YouTube because, well, her friend had started a channel and she wanted to as well. Monkey see monkey do.
This was followed up by me asking her a couple of weeks later what she wanted to do when she grew up and the response was to be a YouTube star!
I explained to my daughter that I didn’t think it was a good idea because anything that you upload to YouTube can be seen by anyone in the world, it can be saved, downloaded and distributed and for a little kid that might be dangerous because there a naughty people out there, naughty people have access to YouTube too.
That was a couple of years ago. She’s a little bit older now and the discussion has come up again.
She’s a little older but a lot smarter and so now the conversation has changed to how she could potentially upload videos to the Internet while being safe. We’ve thrown around some ideas and its a work in progress.
The point being is that if I don’t need to cite facts from FBI.gov or statistics about a global pedophile and child pornography networks to my eight-year-old when discussing the potential downside in uploading personal and private information online and she gets it. Why don’t the parents of these kids get it?
Or am I just naive and they do get it but don’t care because y’know money?
I honestly don’t know.
A bigger question:
What is YouTube doing about it?
What are the global content giants doing about children and kid-content on their networks?
Have they thought about it? Is it just going to be one of those ‘costs of doing business’ situations in a few years? Because I suppose eventually kids like Ryan might grow up and decide they’re not too happy that their parents uploaded their entire lives for the world to see.
Contributing community member and investor of,