Ryan Kaji was the highest earning YouTube star in 2020.
Along with his parents he makes videos about toys – which includes reviewing various different products, but also promoting his own brand of toys.
In the video below Ryan and his parents are promoting his ‘vending machine’
A very toxic childhood
This seems to be a good example of a family promoting ‘toxic childhood‘.
Apparently Ryan and family churn out at least one video a day, meaning this kid, encouraged by his parents, is opening one new product a day, and being watched by millions of other children.
And in the above video, we see Ryan’s parents asking to buy junk food from Ryan, the vendor – so encouraging children to not only be consumers, but also to eat junk food.
According to this Guardian Article it’s not clear whether some of these videos count as ‘reviews’ (which the family claims) or ‘advertising’.
The family is paid by various sponsors and it’s possible that they are endorsing their products for a fee.
Winners and losers?
This is a good candidate for the most offensive YouTube channel I’ve ever seen – clearly the parents are winners as they are making an absolute fortune (with almost $30 million earned in 2020), I’m not sure how well Ryan is going to turn out – brought up with millions of viewers and a massive materialist streak, it’s difficult to see how he’s going to mature into a reasonable adult.
Certainly the companies are winning, with cheap adverts for their products.
But the child-viewers of these reviews are very much the losers – here’s an ‘ordinary kid’ just like them whose opening a new toy every single day and having a great time, but the average kid simply can’t afford that level of consumption, but is being taught that consumerism is fun, normal and good.
A great example of toxic childhood for students studying the family in A-level sociology!