When YouTube was created in 2005, it became an outlet for people to use and post videos to their liking. In the last 16 years, YouTube has expanded into an industry where people can have careers from the videos they create. Throughout the years, watchers have seen a variety of Youtubers, from beauty gurus to ASMR there is so much content creators can do. One of the most controversial and popular types of channels are the family-based creators. Family YouTube channels engage an abundance of viewers because of the connection between the kids and the parents. Lately, watchers have become concerned over parents exploiting their children on YouTube.
After Shay Carl posted a YouTube video in 2008, his family became known as the “first family of YouTube”. Shay originally did not think anything would come out of this, “Who would watch these, who’s gonna watch this home movie?” he explained to KUTV News. Although the SHAYTARDS may have started the family trend on YouTube most probably have never heard of them. Their channel seems to be purer and more focused on the family, unlike the ACE family.
The ACE Family has successfully become one of the most popular YouTube Channels with almost 20 million subscribers. Austin McBroom and Catherine Paiz began their channel in 2016, with their daughter Elle, but their family has expanded with two more children, Alaia and Steel. At their start watchers admired Catherine and Austin’s dynamics with the love in their relationship and constant pranks on each other. However, as they rose to fame they have been involved with a multitude of controversies. From sexual assault allegations to property damage its surprising that the family still allows their children to be a part of this. Their daughter, Elle, is the oldest and seems to be the most exploited out of all the children. Videos centered around Elle can seem harmless, but Elle does not know what she is getting into. She does not understand the brutal world of social media. There are multiple celebrities that do not even show the faces of their babies or children, because their children did not choose to be in the public view. This will affect Elle and the rest of the ACE family children when they are older. Elle will never have a normal childhood because “….as their businesses grow, it’s tempting to start treating kids like employees, and these pockets of support help justify practices like scripting videos, filming emergency room and dental visits, and homeschooling kids to better accommodate a work schedule.”
Another child, Allie began a YouTube channel where she reviewed different toys; this channel caused a bridge between her and her mom. “….I wouldn’t be able to wake up in the morning, and my mom would be like, ‘oh, you’re so lazy.’ But I was just working, working, working. It was never enough,” Allie commented to Intelligencer. As a result of all the pressure she “developed an anxiety disorder”. Lastly, there was a family that was profiting over their abusive pranks towards their children. In videos, MommyOFive and DaddyOFive were seen yelling at their children and committing vulgar acts, nonetheless, they claimed their videos to be fun and just pranks. The intense nature of these videos has caused the channel to be taken down and for Child Protective Services to visit this YouTube family.
Certainly, not every family channel on YouTube is exploiting the children or being malicious but, events like these have sparked the debate on if children should be on YouTube. It’s up to the parents of these channels to protect their kids but there should be more done to shield adolescents in this world of media.