The Power of Youtube


Nina Hovanesian, Staff Reporter

    YouTube, an internet buff’s wonderland. If you aren’t familiar with the popular website, YouTube is an huge collection of videos, whether it be comedic videos, informational videos, or a collection of “ Do it Yourself” videos. Any person from any background or age can search and access these videos. Although the website is public and free, some videos that have special settings ( implied by the up-loader or the staff at YouTube), could be: set at private , set to a particular age limit (usually 18), or require purchase to view. Up-loaders on YouTube usually refer to themselves as  vloggers or youtubers. YouTube has created a platform for people to connect and interact. YouTube has also provided many careers for up-loaders in allowing them to receive money from uploading videos.   

      YouTube and Vine(a website dedicated to short videos) stars like Nash Grier ,16, and Cameron Dallas, 21, have millions of subscribers who view their videos every day, which results in a big profit for them. Although they have many fans, some non-avid viewers find Grier’s and Dallas’ content to be unamusing and even detrimental to their young viewers. In January of 2014, Grier, Dallas and Jc Caylen (age 23), uploaded a video to YouTube entitled, “What Guys Look for in Girls.” In this video, the three boys talked about their personal opinions on what they feel makes a female attractive. Grier emphasized his opinion on female body hair and how he thinks females should appear to be considered attractive.   

     This video sparked much outrage from viewers and even fellow vloggers on YouTube. Grier quickly deleted the video due to the response. People quickly mirrored the video before it was deleted and so the video, just like most things, still remains online. Although Grier never apologized for his personal statements in the video in question, he made an apology to a prior vine he posted in which he recorded a clip of an AIDS awareness commercial and called the speaker of the commercial a homophobic slur.

        Another YouTuber, Kian Lawley, also uploads controversial videos to his channel. Most of his target audience is young and impressionable adolescents. In August of 2014, Lawley uploaded a video entitled “The Dirtiest Video Ever.” In this video Lawley talks about himself and a dream he had. He also answered questions that were asked to him by his followers on Twitter. I stumbled across this video after watching Nash Grier’s video. I was absolutely appalled while watching this video. Many times I caught myself shaking my head and verbally responding to what Lawley was saying and doing. To make matters worse, Lawley acknowledged his influence on his young audience, and claimed that he purposefully gives his videos a sexual innuendo for a title. He said that if a young girl sees the title of his video, that it is her responsibility not to watch the video because she should know that it is inappropriate.

       The past two years have been difficult ones for the community of YouTube, from Sam Pepper and the sexual harassment claims against him to the Sam and Nia, Christian vloggers scandal. It’s important for us to recognize all that has been said and done with these scandals, so that we can understand that even though YouTube can be an “escape” for some people, there is still a precedent (cause and effect) reality that plays in the role of YouTube.

     Character “Uncle Ben” said in the film Spider Man (2002), “ With great power comes great responsibility.” I’d like to think this quote pertains to YouTube directly. A lot of  “youtubers” who have thousands, and even millions of subscribers, have an undoubtedly big influence on their viewers. Although YouTube’s central message is about community and creating original content, some youtubers use their power of influence in a negative way.

      I’d hate to think that in this day and age the only way to be considered “funny” is to make videos that include graphic discussions about sex and upload them for the whole world to see. If YouTube is about being funny and original, why do we allow youtubers to upload such videos? It’s an unfortunate case in this matter of sensibility. It’s a cycle that primarily young youtubers like Nash Grier, Cameron Dallas, Kian Lawley, Jc Caylen contribute to. I always hear adults and even teens complaining about how “little kids are growing up so fast these days.” The only reason kids are growing up so quickly is because we are exposing them to adult themes and ideas at the early age. We need to be more conscious about what we are putting up on social media and websites, so that the kids who “grow up too fast,” won’t.