Courtesy of Markus Spiske Via Unsplash

Until Children Are Protected, Family Youtube Channels Should Not Exist

Alice Lemée
10 min readJul 21, 2020

Imagine gazing back at the reflection of your 13-year-old self and turning your face to the side as you examine your once silky smooth prepubescent skin now a mountain range of bulbous acne. Overcome by waves of insecurity, you turn to your mom for advice. As you try and flip your hair to cover the blemishes, your mom whips out her Canon PowerShot and starts vlogging about your journey into adolescence while poking at your pimples, and plans to post this new video to the family vlog by next Tuesday 8 AM EST.

While this scenario sounds like a hypothetical nightmare, it is, unfortunately, a reality for children who are part of Youtube family vlog channels. Vlogging is described as “the frequent recording and uploading of personal videos, usually on Youtube.”

Family vlogging is a subdivision within this industry where families allow viewers to have access to their domestic life by posting videos about everything from their morning routines to announcing exciting life changes, such as buying a new home or revealing a pregnancy.

The popularity of this industry has skyrocketed upwards of 90% in 2017, according to Youtube. There’s clearly a market to be quenched in regards to domestic antics, and it’s fair to say that on paper, family channels provide harmless entertainment easily consumed by both parents and kids alike. The main reason for their success appears to be their “realness” on camera.

Offering a platform for this candidness where viewers can talk in-depth about the characteristics and tribulations of each family member keeps viewers attached and coming back for more. However, in an effort to keep churning out videos primed for viral distribution, some parents have resorted to extremely questionable and borderline exploitative content.

The first crop of these videos took the form of ‘pranks,’ where children would unknowingly be at the receiving end of jokes. It’s easy to want to dismiss this perceived silliness, yet keep in mind children are particularly sensitive and gullible. It’s one thing to prank your kids Jimmy Kimmel style by telling them you ate all their candy. It’s another to smash their electronics and curse them out for “bad behavior” as the child cries out, red-faced and confused.

Alice Lemée

NYC content writer obsessed with all things consumer tech, digital marketing, and the future of work.