Child YouTuber Blurs the Lines of Advertising for Other Children

Branded content has become one of the most talked about topics on the internet in last couple of years. For many adults, it’s very easy to spot these advertisements imbedded in YouTube videos and social media posts, but people have been wondering if children can distinguish advertisements and real life as well. Truth in Advertisement, a watch dog on internet ads, argues they can’t, and has really pressed hard on monitoring one channel in particular, Ryan ToysReview.

Ryan ToysReview is an unboxing web series on YouTube that’s branded to kids with the slogan “toy reviews for kids by kids.” The host Ryan Kaji, a 7-year-old boy, reviews the toys on his channel where millions of people tune in to watch each week. The channel has gained an enormous following by obtaining 21 million subscribers and over 30 billion views on his videos. While some may see this channel has harmless fun, Truth in Advertising sees it as a potential threat to children who watch it.

Nearly 90 percent of Ryan’s videos contain some sort of advertisement according to Truth in Advertisement. The sponsors have included Walmart, Hasbro, Netflix, Chuck E. Cheese, and even Nickelodeon. While most videos have disclaimers and notes claiming the positive reviews are advertisements, many people are concerned about a child’s ability to distinguish a genuine review and a paid one. Coincidentally, Truth in Advertisement filed the complaint the same day Google agreed to pay a fine of $170,000 when they were caught selling children’s data to advertisers. While the effects of these advertisements to children are unclear, it is interesting to see how these discussions will shape the guidelines for children’s media on the internet in the future.

Article: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/04/business/media/ryan-toysreview-youtube-ad-income.html

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