My almost 8-year-old granddaughter likes watching YouTube videos. My daughter has done a pretty good job monitoring what she watches. She loves creative things as she’s pretty creative herself. She loves things like people making slime and “3 marker challenges.” Those I have no issue with, although they can be pretty annoying at times. It teaches her how to be creative, even when the parameters that you are given aren’t ideal. It’s a good strategy to learn in life.
One of the people she began watching has multiple channels with different content. They are known as the “Beyond Family.” When she started watching the creative videos, it was okay. However, she started watching the actual Beyond Family channel and I took an instant dislike to the parents. This was more “look at me” voyeuristic type videos. Might be fine for an adult to choose to do that, but with three children under 10, it felt more like exploiting them to get rich. Indeed, a cursory google search revealed that they’ve made millions from these channels; enough so Dad could quit his job and devote his life to making videos of his family.
I didn’t like the message these videos sent. It was more like “look at us, how rich we are.” They show off their boat, their big new house, their cars, and the things companies send them for them to promote on their videos. The last couple we watched was about how Mom injured her foot. Like why do you video things like that and why would people want to watch them? It all comes down to voyeurism. That can be fine if adults choose to do that, but they involve three young children in this who don’t get a say in their lives being on YouTube.
I was already finding them distasteful. I called them “the rich family, don’t you want to be us” videos. Then today, she was watching one where they were going on a driving trip. They go through Las Vegas and Trump Tower gets mentioned. The father then goes on a rant against President Biden. This is a video that an impressionable 8-year-old is watching and it’s pretty disgusting.
We made her turn it off and I talked to her about what she would feel like if I followed her around all day with a camera and then put it on YouTube. She said she wouldn’t like it. I wanted her to grasp that these kids were being exploited by their parents for money. These videos of what they are doing as children will be around for the rest of their lives on the internet; temper tantrums, meltdowns, crying fits, and all. I didn’t even get into what his rant against the President would be teaching her. I know as she gets older she will be exposed to lots of people with different values and thoughts that live around us. She doesn’t need to hear it from a guy on YouTube who is exploiting his children so he doesn’t have to work.
There are others she watches that are okay, even if they are annoying at times. JacyandKacy are fun. They are two teenage sisters who look like twins but aren’t and have fun being creative together. JustAmeerah and the Slimatory videos are also a family of teens and a mother just having fun with slime and being creative. It’s not following them around during the day filming their every move and putting it up on YouTube. There’s a huge difference.
I imagine some of the draw for her is that she watches ICarly, which is about teenagers making their own YouTube show. You can read the book I’m Glad My Mom Died to get an idea of why what’s shown on a show has little basis in reality and how traumatizing it can be for young actors, nevermind kids that have none of the protections that are supposed to be out there for child actors. I have to wonder what books kids in the Beyond Family might write as they get older.
Even if you think a particular channel on YouTube is “safe” I’d recommend not letting your children watch it alone. You never know what someone will slip in that might not be a message you want your child to hear. You don’t know what they are going to take away from some of these videos, such as the materialistic message the Beyond Family sends.