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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

How a family's handling YouTube fame

The two-minute "David After Dentist" video has gotten more than 18 million views since 6-year-old David's dad posted it on YouTube. David is now, in effect, a child star. Chris O'Brien at the San Jose Mercury News talked to David's father about how the effects of this apparently unsought near-instant fame. The original idea was to take a video of David after he'd had a tooth pulled so Mom, who couldn't be there, could see that David "was OK, if a bit loopy. The family found it funny, and put it on [Dad's] Facebook page, where only a limited number of friends and family would be able to view it." More and more people asked to see, so David Sr. posted the video on YouTube and, within three days, it had been viewed 3 million times. Some harsh comments about child exploitation have been posted on their YouTube page, but most have been positive. "They held some family meetings to discuss the phenomenon and asked how he felt ('Like a rock star!' he told them). They established some boundaries and parameters about how they would respond." Now, as a family, they package up "David After Dentist" t-shirts for fans. I wonder if David Jr. will one day join a support group for grown-up child stars. Then again, maybe half the grownup world will be child stars by then - no support groups needed!

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Blogger Palymama said...

I've begun a dialogue with David's Dad and I believe you will see him using his new found "platform" to promote internet safety and cyber-citizenship for kids/teens. I reached out to him after he responded to a blog post I wrote on Parenting our teens through their beginning years of "cyber"usage is as important as teaching them to drive safely. It's our responsibility to teach them how to engage in that world as a good citizen. I think "David's Dad" will be promoting this message in the future.

12:38 AM  
Blogger Coda said...

Citizenship - I like this. You Tube is an invaluable medium for engagement and public discourse.
We have a "real space" communication breakdown, in a place in the North-West of England. And yes - child protection is raised here (again).

One feels - unlike You Tube - the School and the wider community are seen as separate spheres. See this development in my local community:

2:39 PM  

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