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Anorak | Toy Freaks and other creepy ways to exploit children and get rich on YouTube

Toy Freaks and other creepy ways to exploit children and get rich on YouTube

by | 18th, November 2017

Ever see Toy Freaks? It was the 68th most popular channel on YouTube. It ‘was’ because it’s gone, banned for flouting YouTube’s “community guidelines”. Google, YouTube’s owners, were super cautious not to act too rashly, allowing Toy Freaks to post more than 500 videos over six years and garner over 7 billions views. Social Blade estimates the channel earned up to £8.7 million a year for the creators and just over £7m for Google.

As advertisers baulked at having their brands associated with Toy Freaks and other weird and often frighteningly unsettling YouTube channels, Google pulled the plug. Community guildines are nothing compared to the bottom line.

 

Toy Freaks with advert

Dropbox was not pleased to have its brand endorse the Toy Freaks video

 

What you missed was single dad Greg Chism, 46, aka “Freak Daddy”, filming his two daughters – named Annabelle and Victoria; age nine and seven, respectively – being freaked out by his antics. They are filmed “wearing baby clothes, sucking dummies and being terrified by live snakes”. One commentator saw “videos of the children vomiting and in pain”.

It turns out that you can’t dictate you audience, and if you publish videos of children in the bath screaming their heads off as dad tosses in a toy toad and claims it to be real, a few nasties arrive to take a long look. Below a film of the daughters playing in a swimming pool, a viewer wrote:

“Victoria, Annabelle, I’ve been wanting to call you for years and I want to call you today how do I call you what’s your number anyways please.”

Mr Chism, 46, offers:

“I am a single father of two daughters and solely focused on providing for their future. I am blessed that our family has been able to take such a remarkable journey in life while entertaining millions on YouTube.”

He’s swallowed the marketing guff. But he’s right: millions did watch; not all them children and bots. He continues:

“Unfortunately, allegations such as these are truly dangerous and reckless and sadly demonstrate the point that in today’s irresponsible internet culture, the truth is often rendered irrelevant.”

Carolyne Keenan, a child psychologist, adds:

“The Toy Freaks content contains footage of activities that a lot of children would not be allowed to do. One of the videos shows a child smashing a bowl of cereal off the table, encouraged by a much older man, a dad figure, to kill a fly for example.

“Videos like this allow children to explore a world that in real life would feel scary, dangerous or get them into trouble.”

It’s fantasy, right, but featuring actual children, which is peculiar. But is the broader issue here less the alleged exploitation of minors than fears of humanity being in thrall of technological advance? What is “irresponsible internet culture”? Printing, comic books, radio and TV were all met with a large doses of fear. But it’s not the kids freaking out; they’re alright. It’s the adults affecting young people’s lives with their own prejudices, perversions and anxieties.



Posted: 18th, November 2017 | In: News, Technology Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink