Should we let children be influencers?

Is it right to encourage your child to expose a huge amount of their personal life on social media for financial gain? Cherry Casey speaks to parents, activists and experts on both sides of the debate

Monday 03 January 2022 22:27
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<p>In 2019, ‘social media influencer’ and ‘YouTuber’ were among the top three career choices of 11 to 16 year olds</p>

In 2019, ‘social media influencer’ and ‘YouTuber’ were among the top three career choices of 11 to 16 year olds

In 2015, three-year-old Ryan Guan asked his mother if “he could be on YouTube, like other kids”. His parents obliged, creating his own channel, Ryan’s ToysReview, where they uploaded footage of him playing with toys. One video in particular, where he opened a papier-mache egg filled with toy cars, struck a mighty chord with kids (and possibly parents) everywhere and shot him into stardom.

That video has since had more than 1 billion views and his channel, now called Ryan’s World, has 30 million subscribers. Ryan himself is said to have a net worth of more than $30m.

Since then, swathes of “kid influencers” have not only followed in Ryan’s footsteps, but overtaken him. According to analytics site Social Blade, the most popular kid influencer at time of writing was Nastya, whose channel, Like Nastya, has 83.5 million subscribers and more than 66 billion views. In 2020, Forbes reported that the seven-year-old had earned $18.5m.

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