Kid social media influencers are promoting junk food and sugar-filled beverages in their YouTube videos, and they are garnering more than a billion views, according to a new study published in the Pediatrics journal. The researchers at NYU School of Global Public Health and NYU Grossman School of Medicine warn that these popular YouTube videos use simple product placement techniques of unhealthy foods, blurring the line between advertisement and entertainment.
“The allure of YouTube may be especially strong in 2020 as many parents are working remotely and have to juggle the challenging task of having young kids at home because of COVID-19,” said senior author of the study, Marie Bragg, assistant professor of public health nutrition at NYU School of Global Public Health and assistant professor in the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone.
Studies have shown that kids increase their consumption of fried foods and unhealthy beverages, even after taking of break of five years of being exposed to junk food advertisements.
This particular study revealed that 179 YouTube videos of a total of 418 videos that were analyzed showed that the influencers consumed unhealthy branded food or drinks. These videos were of the five-most watched kid influencers on YouTube last year.