Are Children Exploited in Viral Videos? (VIDEOS)

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By Justin Sarachik, Christian Post Reporter
November 18, 2011|9:51 pm

Viral videos have become an integral part of pop culture with millions of people all over the world creating, sharing, liking, and watching complete strangers for the sheer pleasure of entertainment.

YouTube gives the world a chance for a nobody to be a somebody, and become a household name for the masses to see.

Many talents have been discovered on YouTube as well; most notably– Soulja Boy through his eccentric videos, Odd Future, and even youngsters like Greyson Chance, whose Lady Gaga cover has been viewed well over a million times and resulted in a record deal from Ellen DeGeneres.

Other YouTube stars like, Rebecca Black, aren't so lucky. Her song "Friday" received the most dislikes of all time on YouTube, and she became the subject of bullying, abuse, and even death threats as she made what's commonly known as the worst song of all time.

However, some of the biggest stars on YouTube are children just being children.

Lisa Belkin of The Huffington Post wrote on her column about children and their possible exploitation because of sites like YouTube.

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Some of these children are garnering hundreds of millions of views and because of this, are making money. More accurately, their parents are making money off cute antics by their children that was once reserved for a special family moment.

The famous video of "Charlie Bit My Finger," has 400 million views and has reportedly earned the family $160,000 on advertisements and t-shirts and bumper stickers the father had made up to bank on the youngster’s success.

Belkin wonders if the long term effects of Internet fame and the flooding of the child's likeness will change the future of a child like the struggles child actors or actresses go through.

She fears parents are now exploiting their children just to make money and are staging many of these viral videos in a "can you top this?" like fashion.

It remains to be seen what the parents of these viral video cash cows do with the money they receive off of advertisements and merchandise, but one thing for sure is, the videos keep coming, and more and more children will have their 15 minutes of fame.

Watch these viral videos below

What do you think of children and YouTube videos? Are they being exploited or is this a good way to expose children to new opportunities?

 

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