This 7-Year-Old Vlogger Earns More Than You, And Everyone On YouTube, And We’re Not Sure How We Feel About It
By Georgia Aspinall Posted 7 days ago
Who is the highest earner on YouTube? Is it beauty mogul Jeffree Star, with his own line of coveted-cosmetics housed by over 30 stockists internationally? Is it daily vlogger and former Disney actor Jake Paul, with his super successful merchandise that he advertises at least three times every vlog to his 17 million subscribers? It is household name Zoella, with her propensity to charge a gabillion pound for an advent calendar? No, it’s none of these entrepreneurs, it’s a 7-year-old child who reviews toys every day.
Ryan ToysReview is the channel name, and with over 17 million subscribers and almost 26 billion views since its creation in March 2015, according to Social Blade. Uploading a toy review every single day, Ryan is just 7-years-old and has topped Forbes list of YouTube’s highest earners. With his own line of collectibles available in Walmart, his 2018 earnings amounted to $22 million, or since a 7-year-old can’t possibly be in charge of that fortune, his parents did.
Regularly making videos with his family, because how else can a 7-year-old create content, there are five other channels attached to his account, including Ryan’s Family Review which gives greater insight into his private life and the life of his siblings, with the other channels seemingly following various cartoon characters on different adventures.
The channel taps into the huge growing audience on YouTube, children, and the trend towards watching other children play with toys. It’s something parents discuss at length on forums, so much so phycologists are asking, why are our kids obsessed with watching someone ELSE play with toys? According to Dr Randy Kulman, it’s not just for entertainment, the videos also provide social connection and helps them boost their own skills at a particular game or using a certain toy.
On any other occasion, a platform that kids can safely watch for hours and give parents some well-needed rest would be a welcome discovery. It’s family-friendly, PG content, so it must be okay, right? Well, in this new age of social media entertainment, we really just don’t know whether these platforms could be damaging, and at the very least, there are ethical questions we must ask about the content aimed at children on YouTube.
First of all, for the content creator itself, is it a job for a 7-year-old? YouTubers may not always taken seriously by their families or even in the current job market, but they are, without question, working - especially if they’re posting content daily.
Ryan’s videos average 30 minutes at length, they’re quite clearly acted (no offence Ryan) and show him filming in various locations at clearly at different points throughout the day, edited together for one long video. It begs the question, how long is Ryan spending as the host of these videos? With some already questioning the ethics behind mummy bloggers having their kids pose for pictures on Instagram at every opportunity, we can’t help but wonder how much Ryan actually enjoys creating these videos every single day.
Then there’s the question of advertising. The videos average four adverts per upload, which is fair enough given YouTube videos are notoriously difficult to monetise (get your coins, Ryan), but he’s also instructed (we assume, since he’s 7 and can’t possibly understand advertising) to advertises his own collectibles to his very young, impressionable audience.
It’s the same ethical question that has risen with the likes of Jake Paul, who too has a 17 million strong audience of young children and makes just half a million less than Ryan. These creators essentially play children’s TV characters, they’re role models for these kids, and most importantly they’re trusted by them. To then advertise your own products while playing that character, it can be seen as manipulating a younger audience. As Shane Dawson alludes to in his 8-part YouTube series about his fellow vlogger, The Mind Of Jake Paul, it’s equivalent to SpongeBob SquarePants plugging his merchandise every episode and essentially brainwashing children into asking their parents to spend money on things they don’t need.
More than that, with Ryan ToyReviews in particular, Ryan plays with (and always enjoys, these aren’t exactly in-depth reviews people) an excessive number of toys, unintentionally (since again, he’s 7) promoting a level of consumerism that is highly unattainable for the average parent.
As more influencers turn to YouTube and realise the potential of this still relatively untapped audience, it’s time we start questioning the ethics of a lot of these channels and whether our kids should be watching them as much as they are.
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