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Grace’s World: the strange case of the 11-year-old influencer with 578,000 followers

The growing trend for children to become huge social media stars with their own content marketing businesses is safe as long as the parents are “fully engaged”, a prominent YoutTube executive has claimed.

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Pointing to the Australian 11-year-old Grace Mulgrew, who has 578,000 YouTube followers that watch her exploits playing with Barbie dolls, Don Anderson insisted she was great example of what was possible with the medium.

“Grace just wanted to play with her dolls and now her and her dad have their own content business,” said the head of kids and learning partnerships at YouTube (APAC).

Asked by Mumbrella if it was healthy for a child to grow up in public on a social media platform with little privacy, particularly when there were so many examples of child stars from traditional media such as movies and music going on to lead tragic later lives, Anderson responded: “I look at it in a positive light.

“It can boost a child’s confidence, there are some case studies to prove that. There is a sense of pride in having so many subscribers. It makes children into great communicators, although the parents have to be fully engaged in what’s going on too.”

Anderson was speaking following an appearance at the Asia TV Forum and Market in Singapore this week. During his panel session, he was also joined on stage by Bryce Inouye, Mattel head of strategic development (APAC).

Inouye told delegates he was grateful for YouTube and the emergence of influencer kids creating their own content around his company’s products like Barbie. Referring again to Mulgrew, whose YouTube channel is called Grace’s World and accepts adverts from brands, he said: “I don’t think Mattel could have done that in-house. Grace’s fans are her fans even though she is using Barbie IP (intellectual property).

“It allows for deep immersion, giving kids a deeper type of play pattern. None of what Grace does is scripted and that’s why people are engaged.”

With 578,000 followers, Grace Mulgrew is blazing a trail for YouTube kids

With 578,000 followers, Grace Mulgrew is blazing a trail for YouTube kids

He was backed by Anderson, who suggested the industry was on the cusp of a breakthrough with child social media influencers. “Kids like to see their own up there,” he added. “Authenticity works. This is what a free and open creative platform brings. It creates new jobs, new industries and new opportunities for 11-year-old kids with half a million subscribers.”

Other prominent YouTube channels aimed at the children’s market include Bounce Patrol Kids, which has 1.1 million subscribers.

 

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