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The YouTube Sex Scandal and the Dangers of Hero Worship on Social Media

(5 Posts)
Innogen Fri 14-Mar-14 15:25:33

As the parent of a DD (now 22) who grew up loving the likes of Charlie McDonnell, Alex Day and the vlogbrothers, I thought it important to share news of what is currently happening in the YouTube community.

My DD has met Alex Day at YouTube gatherings, and this case seems to be a widespread phenomenon whereby young girls are being exploited by a fan/celebrity relationship that allows one-to-one contact with idols, unlike traditional band or actor hero worship. The danger comes from the ability of Social Media figures to have direct, personal access to young, easily influenced girls who are blinded by the perks of having their favourite blogger's attention.

Often this online access becomes physical access at gatherings, or larger conferences like Summer In a The City, Playlist Live or VidCon. My DD met Alex Day and other vloggers at a CD signing event he held.

My DD has long outgrown YouTube, but I still feel this needs to be talked about. I know Jack and Finn, and Dan and Phil (who are not involved in the scandal) are the hot vloggers at the moment, but the danger still stands.

I have been using the news of sexual abuse in the community as a good segue into talking about consent.

Full article, recounting the events if this week, can be found at this link:

Innogen Fri 14-Mar-14 15:31:50

Oh, and here is a Tumblr post collecting together all the accusations currently being made of Alex Day, including his responses to the allegations.

Tw for abuse.

BeeBawBabbity Sat 15-Mar-14 12:19:20

Thanks for posting that, it's an eye-opener for me. I have an 11 year old DD, and her 13 year old friend is completely obsessed with these youtubers, and identifies as a fangirl. I can see my own daughter following suit. I need to keep abreast of this stuff so we can have the right conversations.

Seems like yesterday they were playing with their dolls.

Innogen Sat 15-Mar-14 16:18:29

The fangirl trend is something I find very worrying. It's akin to being a groupie.

When DD got involved with YouTube it was 2007/2008 and the medium was in it's infancy. She made made friends who also made videos, and met many of the people she admired at gatherings - which at this point were small groups of like minded people going bowling or something.

At these gatherings, the culture was 'we are all equal content creators'.
That is not the case any more.

I referred earlier to the Alex Day CD signing. That was 2012, DD was 19 by this point. It was her last involvement with the YouTube community because DD found it an off putting experience.

The culture had changed from creator=creator to creator>fan.... and this is where the exploitation of young girls comes in.

DD was lucky enough to understand what the equal YouTube relationship felt like. I worry for girls getting involved now, who didn't experience the infancy of YouTube vlogging, because it is a whole different ball game.

Innogen Sat 15-Mar-14 21:26:53

New article on Alex Day's abusive behaviour

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