When he was about three years old, my now six-year-old son, discovered YouTube. Like many toddlers and preschoolers, my child would stare in awe as other children un-boxed and played with toys — many of which we had in our very own home, sitting un-played with on a shelf near by.
Maybe it was the comfort of hearing another child’s voice in the home, or the thrill of watching a kid get a new toy, but for whatever reason, my kid just ate this stuff up.
Above all, one YouTube kid kept making his way onto our screen.
Ryan, the now eight-year-old star of the behemoth YouTube channel, Ryan ToysReview, began making videos with his parents in 2015, and has grown into what may be the biggest child star of my kids’ generation.
What Macaulay Culkin was to the 90s, Ryan is to this decade.
My older son has mostly moved on to watching gamers, but my four-year-old has found his own joy in watching Ryan’s channel.
And, I know that grinds a lot of gears.
Parents, including myself, often disgruntling watched our children stare fascinated at Ryan, all the while calculating in our heads all the money he and his family earn from every single video.
I thought of how this poor child was being exploited, for some sort of bastardization of entertainment. This wasn’t acting, this wasn’t a skill.
Any parent with a cellphone camera could do this.
But, one moment changed my view on Ryan and his YouTube fame. Continue reading