A new study has revealed that the most popular kid YouTubers advertise harmful food and drinks in almost half of their most watched videos. Moreover, the number of views of the videos in which youTubers in question set a negative example for the viewers by eating junk food has exceeded 1 billion.
The COVID-19 pandemic gave an incredible momentum to digital transformation, and YouTube, like all online platforms, managed to increase the number of active users and usage times during this period. According to researchers at New York University (NYU) Department of Global Public Health and NYU Grossman School of Medicine, the rate of YouTube use of children, like everyone else, has increased significantly during this period and children do not encounter much “healthy” content on YouTube.
In a study published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers from New York University examined what kinds of ads and sponsored content children were exposed to on videos of child YouTubers, just like them. In this context, the researchers examined the five most popular children’s YouTubers, ages 3 to 14, and scrutinized the 418 most watched YouTube videos.
The purpose of the researchers was to check whether children’s YouTube phenomena show a food or drink in the videos in question, and to reveal how they drive viewers based on which items or brands are displayed. The research found that child YouTubers promoted a food or drink in almost half (42.8 percent) of their most watched videos.
In more than 90 percent of the videos promoting food or beverage, it was found that child YouTubers were promoting unhealthy and branded food, beverage or fast food products. While the rate of unhealthy and non-branded products promoted was 4 percent; The proportion of healthy but non-branded products remained at 3 percent, while the proportion of healthy and branded products was only 2 percent. The total number of views of videos with products promoting junk food in the videos analyzed was over 1 billion.
Marie Bragg, the lead author of the study, assistant professor of public health nutrition at NYU Faculty of Global Public Health and assistant professor at NYU Langone Department of Population Health, stated that the authorities should focus on this issue; He stated that strategies for protecting public health should be determined regarding the related videos.