Youth on YouTube 

Family vlog channels on YouTube spark controversy as parents use their children for views and user engagement

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Family vloggers often market their videos with exciting thumbnails to gain more viewers.

Ford Daniels, Virtual Student Life Editor

Children being featured in YouTube channels has been a controversial subject for the past few years. Supporters say that children being featured in YouTube videos is great since it gives young families a chance to relate to and learn with others and gives children a form of family-friendly entertainment. However, critics say that the children are only being exploited by their parents for popularity and money. There are many family-oriented channels such as the ACE Family and the Labrant Family that come under fire of these controversies. 

The debate on the impact of family YouTube channels is found within classrooms as well.  Although society can be entertained by these YouTube sensations, the idea of exploiting children for prestige is not lost on students like Rookhie Sullivan (10). 

“Their parents might be exploiting them for money. Of course they love them, but they are also using them for views,” Sullivan said. “Many children don’t have a choice, being in the public view is how they’ve grown up, they know nothing else.”

There is a moral dilemma present in featuring young children in YouTube channels, seeing as they do not yet have the ability to make decisions for themselves. This is where the argument of child exploitation comes into play. An example is a viral video on the Labrant Family YouTube channel in which special marriage vows were prepared for the couple’s daughter. It was seen by many as an exploitation of their young daughter for increased viewership.  

Another popular channel featuring the ACE Family, also relies on the exposure of their children via YouTube at a young age for views.  This exposure could adversely impact their futures, as depicted in journalist Emma Brockes’ 2019 article on 

“Parents are exploiting their children on YouTube for fame and easy money,” Brockes stated.  “The mystery is why so many people watch this stuff.”

Critics have stated that the couple exploits their daughter for views, seeing as she is usually the star of each video. Currently, there are movements to socially “cancel” family YouTube channels such as the ACE and Labrant families, and there is widespread disapproval for the exposure of children via YouTube. However, it seems that the families are mostly unaffected by the movements, and therefore, they continue to post content with their children.

Whether or not the moral dilemma of placing children in YouTube videos will be solved remains to be seen, however, for the time being, family YouTube channels seem to be here to stay as they gain millions of followers monthly.