“Blurred boundaries” between prominent YouTube stars and their young, often impressionable viewers can put young people at risk, the NSPCC has warned.
They have created a helpline for victims and have urged those who watch YouTube videos to:
- Never share your personal information online
- Do not accept friend requests from people you don’t know in real life
- Have conversations with your parents about where you are going and what you are doing online
Many people have come forward in the last few years to accuse a wide range of YouTubers, ranging from popular big names like Toby Turner to smaller creators like Alex Carpenter. Most of these accusations have not resulted in criminal complaints, but they remain archived in the pages of internet history.
Emily Cherry, of the NSPCC, told the BBC in an interview that YouTubers have a “responsibility” to make sure relationships with young fans are appropriate.
Ms Cherry warned that online stars have huge power and influence on young people and the way they think about the real world. She told BBC Radio 5 live:
“One child told me that checking their social media accounts and what their favourite YouTube stars are up to was as important to them as eating”
If young people have been affected by any issues or need advice on staying safe online, on protecting your children, or as an Internet personality, the NSPCC has a helpline you can call on 0808 800 500 2.