Family vlogging has been on the rise on YouTube over the last few years. What may seem like innocent vlogs, toy reviews, and family outings, can sometimes turn sinister as money gets in the way. Since 2008, YouTube has offered creators the chance to monetize their content, by playing advertisements before, during, and after their videos. They get 55% of the profits, and the money is deposited into a Google Adsense account. While many YouTubers have become stars via this method, the unfortunate reality is that people get greedy. We’ll be doing a breakdown of the controversy surrounding YouTube family channels, because what the hell is going on here?
Myka Stauffer and Huxley
One of the most recent YouTube family controversies comes from YouTube Mommy Vlogger Myka Stauffer. Having started her channel in 2016, Myka has gone onto build a following of more than 700,000 people, with many of her monetized content based on the adoption of her autistic son, Huxley, from China.
Having adopted Huxley in 2017, with the top video on her channel being a “Gotcha Day” montage celebrating his adoption. Myka and her husband James claimed that they were told that Huxley had a brain tumor prior to his adoption, but that a whole host of other issues surfaced when they brought him home.
Myka consistently monetized videos about Huxley, detailing his various needs and his adoption process. Then, fans noticed that Huxley content had slowed on their YouTube channel, and Stauffer had changed her social media to say that she is a proud mom of “four children” rather than five.
Huxley Disappears from The Stauffer YouTube Channel
Following an outcry from her following, Myka and James made a tearful YouTube video where they explained that they had to “rehome” Huxley due to behavioral issues, and that he was now with his “forever family”. The issue here isn’t necessarily that they had to rehome this child (although giving up a child that you knew had special needs prior to the adoption is cold as hell), but that she has continued to monetize the videos that he featured in, and really put herself forward as a kind of expert on raising differently abled children.
In reality, Myka didn’t get what she expected from Huxley – and it made her, and James, place him with a different family, even as they continue to profit from him today.
Family Vlogs Aren’t Necessarily What They Seem
Even if we just use the Stauffers in this breakdown of the controversy surrounding YouTube family channels, there’s clearly something going on. I’m not saying that Myka and James Stauffer adopted Huxley simply to exploit him for the purpose of their YouTube channel, but there is a pattern of behaviour that these family vloggers seem to have.
We Need to Protect Kids
How can we protect children who appear on YouTube? Is monetizing content featuring young kids any different to a form of child labour? Particularly when there have been numerous reports of abuse going on in these families. When we look at the breakdown of the controversy surrounding YouTube family channels, we need to keep in mind that there absolutely are parents going about this in an ethical way, but too many children are starting to slip through the cracks.