Toddlers on YouTube: Exploitative or Just Good Fun?

Suzanne Murray
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Moms have different opinions when it comes to posting their kids' photos online, and now some people are asking whether YouTube videos of kids are exploitative.

Parents post all kinds of videos featuring their kids. Among them, preschoolers performing Scarface, toddlers using the iPad, and the Yippity Yo Cooking Show (shown in the YouTube video above), starring 3-year-old Zaylee Jean.

Viral videos get kids noticed, and some become overnight celebrities.

Five-year-old Joshua Sacco, who "starred" in a YouTube video giving Herbs Brooks' Miracle speech that got over two million views, was invited to deliver the speech on Opening Day at Fenway Park earlier this month.

"David After Dentist" has been watched over 57 million times, and several parodies of the video have been made. David's dad recently quit his job to market T-shirts and bumper stickers based on something 7-year-old David asks in the video: "Is this real life?" He's made oodles of money -- at least some of which will presumably be spent on his son.

Two-year-old Chad Sher was invited to meet his basketball idol Dwayne Wade after Wade was shown a video of Chad saying, "This is my house!" which is D-Wade's signature phrase.

Is this a case of proud parents wanting to show off their cute kid's talents to the world? Or are parents trying to cash in on their child's YouTube appeal? Should parents consider the kid's privacy and how they'll feel about their YouTube fame years from now, or do parents have the right to post whatever videos of their kid they want? Is this any different from parents who try to get their kids into acting or modeling at a young age?

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