We've all seen it: the young faces of Hollywood, and now, the rising youth of YouTube. Though there is a decent amount of regulation regarding child performers in movie and television, there is not yet anything to monitor the use, and even the exploitation, of children on YouTube.
As YouTube is a fairly new platform, there are still many holes in regards to regulation and control that the company, over the past year or so, has been trying to fill. YouTube has come under massive fire for these new regulations and other platform changes, most especially the installment of a "YouTube Heroes" program. Though it's certainly a step in the right direction, it's a rather debatable move, as the program puts the rights of regulation and censorship into the hands of the consumers ("mass flagging" is a perk for those of a high Hero status).
While the YouTube platform continues to grow, so do the number of controversial issues with the site. YouTube continues to attract younger and younger audiences and is now flooded with a number of child stars "hosting" their own shows, from toy reviews to gaming channels.
Top YouTuber Felix Kjelburg (formally known as PewDiePie) confronts the issue of the increasingly young YouTube stars in one of his latest videos:
As comical and cynical as the video is, PewDiePie makes a valid point: child exploitation in entertainment is now bigger than ever, and it seems like it simply isn't an issue to most of the population. In fact, the rise of child stars in entertainment is evidence to suggest that people actually enjoy it.
Should there be regulations, then? Where do we draw the line between innocent fun and demoralization? In this generation, where children become the main sources of valued amusement and satisfaction, it's almost impossible to tell.