YouTube camp helps kids become next social media sensation

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NEW PALTZ, N.Y. (NEWS10) — YouTube has helped create a generation of new stars. Some of them are kids who are still in elementary school!

So, how do you become the next big YouTube sensation??

Well, there’s a camp for that!

Tucked away in a computer lab at SUNY New Paltz, NEWS10 ABC found campers aspiring to become the next great social media sensation.

Instructors teach campers how to set up and run their own YouTube channels, shoot and edit video, and basically create their own online content.

“It’s just the experience for me,” one young camper said. “It’s just having something that I can look at and say, ‘This is really good. I can’t believe I did this.’”

The camp is run by ID Tech, which has a long history of STEAM programs. But YouTube camp is by far the most popular.

“The registrations have just skyrocketed over the last few years. That is the number one entertainment medium for kids now,” Jami Smith, Director of Operations for ID Tech, said.

NEWS10 met 7-year-old twins, Annabel and Audrey, who already have their own YouTube channel, “Fun Toy House”.

They treat their subscribers to videos of them going shopping and dissecting squishies. During the weeklong day camp, they got to create a new video about a trip to Africa.

“What do you think it’s like to be a YouTube star?” NEWS10 reporter Anya Tucker asked. Audrey: “Amazing.” Anya: “You think it’s amazing?” Audrey: “Yeah.”

It’s not hard to see why. Top ranked YouTubers make millions and have millions of fans.

Gavin Magnus is a rising star. 

He has more than 1.5 million subscribers to his YouTube channel. He is signed exclusively to influencer talent agency Viral Nation. And after dropping his single “Crushin,” he recently signed with Capitol Records.

So what’s his advice for young aspiring YouTubers?

“Find what you want your channel to be about,” he said. “It’s like if you’re a gymnast, you make gymnastics videos. If you are an animal enthusiast, you do videos about animals.”

But be ready to work hard!

“To be honest 24-7. Because even when I’m hanging out with my friends. I’m still working on social media,” he added.

And there are pitfalls in the form of bullies and trolls.

“I actually have gone through a lot of cyber bullying and hate on, like, social media. Definitely choose to ignore it.”

Kids already expose themselves to a lot just by going online.

Research has found that 65 percent of 8-14 year-olds have been involved in a cyberbullying incident
(Source: Safeatlast.com)

Some research shows that cyber bullying is now being eclipsed by hate speech.

So how do kids know what’s appropriate for them when starting their own YouTube channel?

At YouTube Camp, they start with the good old fashioned Golden Rule.

“Which is in-person, respect each other,” Smith said. “And the importance of collaboration and respect, but we also go really in-depth in our code of conduct about what is a hot list item. What can get me kicked out of camp. And that could be either in person or online.”

So, they keep the comments section turned off.

YouTube forbids children under the age of 13 from opening their own accounts. So it’s up to parents to create and monitor their channels.

Parents like Annabel and Audrey’s dad.

“Do you want them to become the next YouTube sensation?” Anya asked.

“Absolutely not. Absolutely not. For me it’s about them expressing themselves and having a creative outlet to do that. But not only that but an outlet that is now in the moment. They are learning life skills that they’ll be able to use further down the road.”

You can follow Gavin Magus on YouTube and Instagram.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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