The Korea Herald


Child abuse concerns raised over money-making kid YouTubers

By Choi Ji-won

Published : July 25, 2019 - 17:39

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The parents of a child YouTuber, who had garnered enough money to buy a 9.5 billion won ($8.06 million) building, are receiving criticism from the public related to child abuse concerns raised in the past.

South Korea’s most popular YouTuber Boram received huge attention from the public after the Maeil Business Newspaper reported Tuesday that Boram Company -- the family company operating two YouTube channels featuring the 6-year-old girl -- had recently purchased a building in one of Seoul’s richest areas.

(Screen grab from Boram Tube ToysReview YouTube video) (Screen grab from Boram Tube ToysReview YouTube video)

The two channels -- Boram Tube ToysReview and Boram Tube Vlog -- have the largest number of subscribers and earn the most marketing revenue among South Korean YouTube channels, according to YouTube analytics website Social Blade.

Amid rising public attention on the young YouTuber, past accusations that Boram was abused by her parents are getting the spotlight again.

In September 2017, Save The Children’s local chapter took the issue to the court, pressing charges against Boram’s guardians. The charity accused the guardians of the child YouTuber of gaining financial profit by putting the children in situations that could put them under mental distress and distributing the footage to the public, with a negatively influence on underage viewers who watch the clips.

The videos in question included those showing the 6-year-old stealing money from her dad’s wallet, damaging her favorite doll and acting as if she is pregnant and is giving birth. Following the public outrage, the parents apologized to the public and made the clips private.

Seoul Family Court upheld the charity’s accusations and ordered protective disposition to Boram’s parents. 

(Screen grab from Ttua Ttuji TV YouTube video) (Screen grab from Ttua Ttuji TV YouTube video)

Meanwhile, concerns about kids who star in commercial video platforms are expanding, with voices requesting stricter regulations of such channels being raised.

According to Social Blade’s data, among the top 15 earners of South Korean YouTube channels, 10 -- including Boram’s -- either featured kids or were aimed at young viewers.

Just last month, another popular children’s YouTube channel, Ttua Ttuji TV, which features twin girls, also came under fire after sharing a video of the two girls eating a giant octopus. In the video, the children seemed to be having difficulty in chewing the octopus, frowning and groaning throughout the video.

By Choi Ji-won (