So your kid wants to be a YouTube star? Parenting expert says it’s not a simple yes or no answer

About four months ago, eight-year-old Audrey Ison and her mom began creating and posting videos to YouTube.

“I see a lot of people do a lot of videos and I want to try and do it,” Audrey said.

“I hope to keep inspiring people to watch them.”

They have about 10 subscribers, but her mom said it’s less about the numbers of views and more about an outlet for her child to be creative.

Story continues below

“I’ve noticed a big change in her self-esteem and her confidence,” Leah Ison said. “She goes on these videos and I allow her to make mistakes. I’m not saying, ‘Oh you have to do that perfect.’ I’m not worrying about what her hair looks like. It’s more, ‘Just be you.’”

Like many other kids, Audrey is inspired by other families doing something similar. The Eh Bee Familyfor example, has 7.5 million subscribers.

READ MORE: Northern Alberta family sells home, belongings to ‘give’r’ on year-long globetrotting getaway

Parenting author and counsellor Alyson Schafer said she’s concerned kids are mistaking the idea of something that’s fun with a desire for fame.

“They’re confusing the idea of ‘likes’ with popularity and thinking that their worth is based on how many followers, how many views,” Schafer said.

Schafer said if your child wants a YouTube channel it’s not a simple “yes” or “no” answer, but a series of conversations and discussions. Her advice for parents is to ensure kids are motivated for the right reasons.

“The conversation is, ‘Why are you interested?’ Too many kids think, ‘I’m going to get a big YouTube channel and I’m going to start getting sponsorship and money and that’s what I’m going to do instead of working hard at school and getting a job.’

“I don’t want it to be a lazy shortcut with a sad goal of just being famous. That’s not a helpful route.”

READ MORE: YouTube star dies in high-speed car crash in California: reports

Schafer said parents need to be concerned about more than just social media safety and instead focus on the moral coaching.

“Keep tabs and continue the conversation about where things are landing, how people are reacting and responding, why put up that content, what’s important about that content,” she said.

“There’s no sense just cluttering the air space. What’s the value added when you are posting?”

As for the amount of time spent creating these videos? Schafer said parents should treat it like any other hobby.

“When we look at a well balanced life, how many hours do we spend on our different hobbies?”