What did you dream of being when you grew up?
Maybe you put on a white coat and stethoscope and envisaged a future as a doctor. Or perhaps you refereed fights between your siblings, and thought about a high paying career in law.
Well today neither helping people nor money is at the top of kids priorities. It’s all about the fame and glory.
Because the number one desired job of kids has been announced, and it’s a YouTuber. A job that didn’t even exist as anything more than a hobby just a few years ago.
Listen: Holly Wainwright and Andrew Daddo discuss the shift on This Glorious Mess.
A recent study showed that a massive three quarters of kids would love to be a YouTube vlogger when they grow up, with the opportunity it presented for creativity, fame and self-expression outweighing their desire for money.
The jobs following YouTuber were blogger, musician, actor, film maker, doctor, nurse, TV presenter, athlete, teacher, writer and lawyer.
Old favourites such as astronauts and ballerinas did not make the cut sadly.
Considering young people are spending upwards of six hours a day looking at their screens, it’s no surprise that they’re throwing in the nine-to-five for a chance to do what they love.
In 2017, YouTube is a digital babysitter.
From before they can walk, kids are being plonked down in front of the iPad to sift through thousands of hours of kid-friendly programming.
When once upon a time kids would have been playing cricket in the street, now they’re watching the strange phenomenon of unboxing videos. Instead of riding their bikes with their friends, they’re challenging them to online role-playing games – and sharing their success with the world.
Now think of all that screen-time as an unpaid internship. Gee kids today are industrious!
So is this a viable career path?
Channels for and by children are a huge growth area for YouTube. Kids are starting their online careers as young as three, making content for others their age. There is a sea of content now so it’s easy to get lost in the deluge of other wannabe stars. That’s why having a niche is a must.
Beauty channels with make up tutorials are not only popular, they’re an excellent moneymaker. Vloggers such as Zoella and Chloe Morello rake in free products and brand endorsements, with some even making revenue in the millions.
Unboxing videos are one of those trends that seems almost like the internet is playing a joke on us. The kids at the helm of these channels upload footage of themselves opening the packaging and recording their first impressions of products, toys and games. Yeah, I don't really get it either... But apparently it's a thing.
A thing that could make you big bucks. Five-year-old Ryan's channel Ryan ToysReview has almost 8 million subscribers and 13 BILLION views. Yep, that's a few more than our little podcast.
But by far the biggest genre on YouTube is the gamer squad. Xbox, PlayStation, iPhone, computer, you name it. Videos range from live-streaming, to reviews, highlight reels, news and discussions, walk throughs, and yes, unboxing videos.
And the viewers come in (incredibly passionate, knowledgeable and engaged) droves. YouTubing gamers could be in trouble though, with the video hosting platform threatening to demonetise these videos.
Despite the apparent opportunities for some easy money, parents should be wary, as this is certainly an industry with a dark side. (Cue the ominous music...)
Is it healthy for young children to be in the public eye? Up for scrutiny and criticism in the comments? Depending on your view of social media, it could create an unhealthy environment for kids.
Beauty vlogger Michelle Phan opened up about the harsh reality of her shiny fame in a video last week, outlining the reasons she decided to leave the industry. After a ten month hiatus, the 30-year-old reminded her fans that money can't buy happiness.
"Once I was a girl with dreams who eventually became a product, smiling, selling, and selling," she said.
"Who I was on camera and who I was in real life began to feel like strangers."
And remember the old adage - what goes up, must come down. It applies in the YouTube world too.
Frequently touted as the most popular YouTuber of all time, Swedish gamer PewDiePie fell from grace this year when he featured anti-semitic jokes in his videos which cost him partnerships with Disney and Google. After being named one of TIME magazine's 100 most influential people last year, he is now on the receiving end of death threats.
Maybe PewDiePie should have become an astronaut instead.
Would you let your child start a YouTube channel?
Listen to the full episode of This Glorious Mess here:
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