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Σάββατο, 27 Νοεμβρίου, 2021
ΑρχικήEnglish EditionThe scourge of family channels on YouTube

The scourge of family channels on YouTube


By Panagiota Katsaveli, 

Does the idea of having babies intimidate you, wishing to find someone to advise you on the matter? Or do you simply like babies and children so you want to follow their journey as they grow up to become adults in our world? The answer to everyone’s prayers has been, for the last years, the development of family channels on YouTube. These channels are based on the life of parents with their children, sharing both the exciting and the less glorious aspects of parenting. However, has anyone ever wondered about the impact these channels have on the children whose lives they follow? Most likely, not…

Everyone is familiar with the YouTube platform, on which every genre possible has managed to accumulate an increasing number of viewers, from gaming channels to the beauty and lifestyle community. In this light, the genre of family vlogging sprung up to fill a supposedly existent void with more families, entering the platform as the genre concentrates more attention from the public. These channels include different videos to fulfill the needs of even the most exigent viewer; a range from pranking videos to daily vlogs with their everyday routine. While the idea of documenting the process of growing up and having the ability to look back on the beautiful memories created as your kids grow up seems exquisite, this does not seem to be the motive behind these channels. In fact, the big following behind these family channels and consequently the financial profits for the parents make the exploitation of their children rather tempting.

Image source: lowvelder.co.za

Some people might argue that the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks of family vlogging. Parents who manage the channels have confessed that their creation was an immediate result of the children’s request. Today’s kids grow up in a digital era with their idols being YouTube and TikTok stars, so it would only seem natural that they would dream of acquiring this kind of fame too. They desire everything they witness their idols to possess, the same way earlier generations wanted to be actors or singers following the trajectory of the stars of their time. Furthermore, the desire or need to attract a bigger audience makes creators plan more exciting activities in order to film them and gain profit. Hence, children will have more fun, exciting and thrilling upbringing than they would otherwise have. The profits gained by the views and sponsors working with the family also give the parents the chance to provide a better future and more comfortable living for all of them.

Even though family channels may come out as a positive environment because they involve children, they often have found themselves at the center of controversy and scandals. Some parents have been accused of bad treatment and abuse against the children who are under their protection. Truth be told, certain pranks and jokes included incidents of violence, while others fooled around with the kids’ emotions leading to trauma that could last a lifetime, on the premise that it becomes a frequent occurrence. The most outrageous scandal for a family channel involved the rehoming of an autistic child. Many viewers felt that the creators who adopted the child did not take into consideration its best interest, but instead, they found it extremely difficult to accommodate its needs. What was once for them a profitable decision, turned out to be a very tiring commitment that did not help them in the financial aspect enough to try to make it work, we could assume…

Family channels on YouTube have been a popular genre for quite some time, but not many viewers have considered the burden placed on these children or the difficulties they might face. Unlike child actors, for whom specific regulations have been enforced to ensure they are not being exploited, children on YouTube channels have no rules to fall back on in case they are taken advantage of. YouTube children have no stable work schedule, and they are never given the opportunity to leave set since their set is their own home and their own lives are the ones being broadcasted. This leads to endless work hours, and these children are deprived of the chance to separate their personal from their work lives. These children lose the ability to enjoy privacy about sensitive matters of growing up because these stories will greatly appeal to their audience. However, no one has considered the repercussions of those actions on the future lives of these beings, who could be made fun of based on the content their parents posted. They have no say in content posted about them, even though it will acquire a permanent place on the internet.

Image source: neoreach.com

Moreover, parents of child actors have the obligation to save a percentage of the money they make after they turn eighteen, which does not happen with children on YouTube. Family channels, as stated before, have accumulated huge levels of fame and wealth, which are mainly based on the children of the family. People subscribe to these channels to see the children’s adventures of growing up and discovering the world for themselves. Giving this much attention to the children, and basically relying on them as breadwinners of the family, places an immense amount of weight on their shoulders. No child should be responsible for making money for the family. This also makes it difficult for them to stop being on camera since then their family will face financial losses. 

All in all, after taking a look at both sides of the story, it becomes clear that the children are the agents that should be protected at all costs. These minors depend entirely on their parents to keep them safe and help them discover the world, but they may be taken advantage of. So, the way to move forward would be to create certain laws for these children’s protection; they deserve the chance to grow up in a safe, happy environment, in which they will have the ability to enjoy their privacy and devote their time to their passions.


References

New York Magazine, The Dark Side of YouTube Family Vlogging. Available here. 

The Queen’s Journal, Examining the ethics of family vlogging. Available here.


 

TA ΤΕΛΕΥΤΑΙΑ ΑΡΘΡΑ

Panagiota Katsaveli
She was born in 2001 and was raised in Kilkis. She was an undergraduate student in the department of English Language and Literature at AUTh. Her passions include learning foreign languages and travelling both inside the country and abroad. In her spare time, she enjoys watching movies and reading literature.