child youtubers and specific goods of childhood: when exploration and play become work

mar cabezas


This article explores the nature and consequences of being a successful child YouTuber as a new form of both child labor and play in the social media era. This new child activity can in principle act as an enhancer of child autonomy, creativity, and some specific goods of childhood, such as play, and exploration. However, the impact of becoming a micro-celebrity as a video blogger at a young age is to some extent underexplored. Thereby, I bring into the ethical discussion the specific conditions of this activity, such as overexposure, and adultization. By doing so, I show how it can turn out to be a threat to child’s well-being and well-becoming, especially in relation to the identity construction and intrafamily dynamics. I highlight its double role as both an enhancer of childhood’s specific goods and child vulnerability, especially when it becomes a silent form of subjugation. Thereby, I suggest that the strong version of the precautionary principle could be a normative guide to balance the children’s need to explore and autonomy without jeopardizing other specific goods of childhood and their well-becoming.


parasocial relation; youtube; microbloggers; vulnerability; social media

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