“You shouldn’t want to be a YouTuber.”

When asking a child what they want to be when they grow up, the expected answers include firefighters, nurses and actors. However, in 2018, when asked the same question, many kids reply with this: “I want to be a YouTuber.”


YouTubers make a living posting videos onto YouTube, and they possess massive influence and fame in today’s culture. As a result, according to Influencer Marketing Hub, their annual incomes often rank in the millions.


As reported by The Sun Magazine, over 50 percent of students surveyed listed “YouTuber” as their top career choice. Even though the life of a YouTuber seems appealing, the road to becoming successful on the platform isn’t worth the rewards. Because of this, the influence that YouTubers have on students ends up doing more harm than good.


First of all, YouTubers don’t go far in their educational pursuits. Since most YouTubers are in their early twenties, many do not attend college or other forms of higher education. In fact, several YouTubers decide to drop out of traditional high school in order to focus on their newfound careers.


Since these YouTubers are immensely successful, students who watch may develop the notion that dropping out of school or not going to college can lead to great success. However, this is a classic case of “survival bias,” meaning that only those who are successful with their choices can advocate for why they chose right. We hear success stories from large YouTubers who didn’t pursue an education, but we don’t hear the many more people who are struggling in the real world with limited schooling.


YouTube has changed drastically from what it started as 13 years ago. In 2005, there were very few creators on the website, making it easy to gather an audience and gain fame. Today, however, finding a specific niche in the YouTube community is next to impossible, as videos have been made on almost every subject imaginable. Consequently, attracting a substantial and loyal audience is very hard, and for many YouTubers, it never happens. So it begs the question: how do creators actually become successful?


By looking at the content of many top YouTubers, it becomes clear that they offer very little in quality to their viewers. Successful videos often rely on shock factor to gain views, degrading the value of the videos themselves.


Logan Paul uploaded a video titled “We Found a Dead Body in Japan” on Dec. 31, 2017 in which he and his friends traveled to the famous Aokigahara, or “suicide,” forest. When Paul found a corpse hanging from a tree, he decided to film his reaction to it, consisting of laughing and making jokes. His behavior clearly mocked the topic of suicide, but the video gained millions of views and was at the top of the trending page.


More than anything, this video conveyed that success on the platform translates to posting controversial content that stirs drama within the community. Students who aspire to be YouTubers will pick up on this trend, leading them to post videos that intentionally spread negative ideas. Eventually, the students who upload such videos will start to believe the themes that they spread.


There are many YouTubers that use their platform to spread constructive messages to their viewers. However, this positive content doesn’t bring the same money, audience or publicity. As seen in the case of Logan Paul, these videos aren’t promoted nearly as much as those who do the opposite. Clearly, the path to becoming successful on the platform isn’t worth the rewards it may provide.

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