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The power of YouTube.

The Ryan Channel Controversy: What You Need to Know.

Have you heard of Ryan? I am not talking about Ryan Reynolds or Ryan Gosling the two famous Canadian actors; I am talking about another well-known Ryan who did not have to go to acting school but was able to make a name for himself in less than a year. If you still did not guess the Ryan I am talking about, ask a 4 year old, and he would definitely tell you.

Ryan ToysReview is a child YouTube star. His channel releases a new toy review video every day, many of which have become very popular, with "Huge Eggs Surprise Toys Challenge" receiving over 1.3 billion views as of June 2018, making it one of the most viewed videos on YouTube.

According to Forbes' magazine, 6-year-old Ryan is the 8th highest paid YouTube entrepreneur, having brought in $11 million in one year reviewing toys on YouTube. Ryan began making YouTube videos in March 2015 when he was watching other toy review channels like EvanTubeHD, and asked his mother one day why he was not on YouTube doing the same thing.

Ryan's mom quit her job as a high school chemistry teacher to work on the YouTube channel full-time. Ryan became a powerful brand among kids his age. If you google search “Ryan”, you will get the below , he is on the 4 top listings! Unbelievable!

His channel on YouTube has more than 14 million subscribers and since it started back in March 2015, it evolved from being a Toys Review channel into becoming a space to perform a children’s science experiment, while having NBA player Kevin Durant as a featured guest back in September 2017.

What has grown into a viral phenomenon began with a simple, unremarkable 15-minute video about a Lego Duplo train set. When his family started recording and posting the videos in March 2015, the 3-year-old barely had any views let alone reviews, according to a profile of Ryan in Verge. In his first video, he simply opened a Lego box, set up the blocks, and played with them.

If you watch Ryan’s videos, you would notice how many brands have sponsored him. Today it is no longer limited to toy brands. You would see in some of the videos product placements of confectionery such as Kinder surprise or McDonald’s for instance.

We also should note how it all started as well when Ryan was introduced to YouTube blogging.

“Ryan was watching a lot of toy review channels — some of his favorites are EvanTubeHD and Hulyan Maya — because they used to make a lot of videos about Thomas the Tank Engine, and Ryan was super into Thomas,” his mother, who declined to be named, told TubeFilter last year. (Samantha Schmidt December 11, 2017, The Washington post)

Ryan ToysReview channel is a great example of the power of interactive media. Something that started by coincidence, went viral and turned into a business model. Despite the success of the channel among YouTubers, I personally believe it is controversial. I only realized the bad influence of Ryan ToysReview when I subjected my son to it. He started imitating Ryan and asking for things Ryan did or for toys that he reviewed. The peak was a year ago when my 3 year old son asked me to take him to McDonald’s, a place I never subjected him to! At that moment I decided: no more Ryan, no more YouTube for my little one! Sorry Ryan!

The huge number of subscribers and views to Ryan's videos makes me think about how many kids are left unsupervised. Or maybe parents are not conscious about the impact of these videos on their children. Not even Ryan and his parents are aware. Ryan is only one example out of many, but who is to be blamed? On one hand, brands are to be blamed for not doing responsible marketing & for abusing whatever opportunity comes their way. On another hand, a huge responsibility lies on parents who are making the easy choice by letting their children explore YouTube with no limit or supervision. YouTube gives you power, but with power comes a great responsibility.

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