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#1 Posted by DukeMcFrenzy (130 posts) -

So I need help with my 11 year old nephew. He's convinced he's going to be the next rock star let's player in the same vein of pewdiepie and others.

Normally I would just let him have his dream like any kid his age but it's starting to have an effect on his school work. His attitude towards school has shifted into an, "I don't need to learn this junk because I'm going to be a millionare once my youtube channel hits it big."

I've tried explaining how youtube star is not a good carrer goal but it just all bounces off his head.

He's asked for a Webcam and other equipment to get started for xmas. His mom just thinks it's some weird hobby and plans on getting it all for him. I'm just worried it's jot going to be what he thinks and let's face it, the internet (youtube especially) can be very cruel when they see vulnerability.

How can I point him in a more down a more productive and realistic path.

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#2 Edited by CaLe (4799 posts) -

He sounds ambitious, and you sound overly negative. I'm siding with the kid.

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#3 Posted by Undeadpool (6994 posts) -

You can't. No, seriously, nothing you say or do for an 11 year old will have any impact on how they behave in a situation like this one.

He has to learn on his own. It sounds like his family can afford the equipment, and at unless he's trying to get into some kind of private high school, his grades at 11 couldn't matter less. If anything, it's good that he either start getting practice now (something incredibly important) or realize it's NOT what he wants to do and move on before his grades actually start to matter for his later life goals.

Your only real goal should be to emphasize the importance of keeping his personal information as guarded as he can, maybe creating a unique email address just for this and never, ever talking about anything that could give away his location.

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#4 Posted by Jesus_Phish (3878 posts) -

You sort of sound like an old man. I don't mean that to sound insulting, but this sounds like someone telling their kid they can't have one of those new fangled electric guitars because nobody will listen to it when we already have good wholesome acoustic guitars.

Being a Youtube star isn't a good career goal just like being a rockstar isn't, but unlike trying to be a rockstar he might learn some valuable skills from editing videos and audio making youtube videos. Media has changed in a lot of ways. Learning how to put together a video at such a young age and then having years of experience of it could land him a job somewhere down the line.

The one part I'd agree with you on is not to let him have a webcam yet. Let him get a mic and whatever tools he needs to capture from his playstation or xbox or pc, but don't give him a webcam. And his parents should adapt a rule along the line of he can make youtube videos as long as his grades stay above a threshold. But that's more on the parents monitoring their kids than anything else.

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#5 Posted by VierasTalo (1434 posts) -

Nephew? Don't talk to the kid, talk to the parents. Sit them down. Explain to them that this new hobby might hurt the school work. Suggest they set boundaries, eg. only X hours of recording time per day or only record after proving that whatever homework needs to be done has been done. There's nothing wrong with trying to become a popular YouTuber so his mother getting him the equipment really isn't a problem. So long as it doesn't interfere with his possibility of having a future outside of streaming/LPs.

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#6 Edited by ASilentProtagonist (738 posts) -

He's a kid. I think most of us have dreams that grown ups consider dumb, or unrealistic when we were around his age. Like the others have said, he'll learn himself. More power to him if he actually achieves it.

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#7 Posted by dudeglove (13746 posts) -

Because what every parent wants is someone else telling them how to raise their child.

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#8 Posted by doctordonkey (1825 posts) -

You're supposed to be the uncle, not the grandpa. Let the kid fail miserably on his own, it'll build character. Learning what goes into video production is useful knowledge, regardless.

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#9 Posted by Christoffer (2374 posts) -

If it effects his school work his parents should notice it soon enough, shouldn't they, that's not your work. And by no means stop him from trying (as long as he and his parents know the "dangers").

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#10 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (7573 posts) -

Get him the camera, a good microphone,and what he might need. But he has to do all the work for production. He will either get into it or he won't, but then succcess or failure is on him. You don't want to be the one saying "you can't" and standing in the way. Help him in a reasonable way, and then let him succeed for fail based on his own effort and drive.

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#11 Posted by HoboZero (443 posts) -

You don't need to crush his dreams, that's what the world is for. It's been crushing dreams for a while. It's a pro.

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#12 Posted by Justin258 (15650 posts) -

Let him have at it. He might learn something useful about video production or computers, and at the end of the day he will have created something, even if it's not great he'll have something. That's way more useful than getting all A's or whatever.

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#13 Posted by TehBuLL (819 posts) -

Whatever Uncle Buzzkill I'm going to be LeBron James. Then I completely stopped growing at 13 and stayed 5'8". Found something else to do. Once he has 8 followers after 3 months and those are spambots he'll either quit or learn better networking and technical skills. No loss. Also soon he will be forced to take interest in a while different awkward subject matter which is more dangerous to his school work. Just be encouraging and then he can't look back on you in anger. Your only job is to keep him out of jail but just barely.

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#14 Posted by teaoverlord (592 posts) -

He's 11. He's not going to go out and get a real job or anything. Let him do what he wants to do. He probably won't rake in a bunch of cash from youtube, but he'll at least learn some basic video production skills.

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#15 Posted by Mortuss_Zero (744 posts) -

Nephew? Don't talk to the kid, talk to the parents. Sit them down. Explain to them that this new hobby might hurt the school work. Suggest they set boundaries, eg. only X hours of recording time per day or only record after proving that whatever homework needs to be done has been done. There's nothing wrong with trying to become a popular YouTuber so his mother getting him the equipment really isn't a problem. So long as it doesn't interfere with his possibility of having a future outside of streaming/LPs.

I'll just quote this for being the best approach.

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#16 Posted by AnxiousTube (245 posts) -

He's young. He'll learn in a matter of a year or so. He will, or will not, succeed in school; it is not dependent on his hobbies. If his parents continue to push him in a way that highlights academic success, which is actually more important than ever now, especially in a society where ignorance, willful ignorance, is so rampant, he'll be fine.. Don't do anything, just love him. As you say, the internet is a harsh place, so give him support, even though you realize the reality of the situation; which I have no doubt was granted to you by experience, as well. Again, just support him and love him.

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#17 Posted by oldenglishc (1547 posts) -

Kids these days aim too low. When I was 11, I wanted to be a dinosaur.

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#18 Posted by Bollard (8172 posts) -

Some mixed responses here, jeez. I agree with what some others have said though, it's on his parents to make sure he still commits enough time to his school work and so on, and he is only 11, so it's not like he has career deciding exams coming any time soon. Plus, this hobby could be a good gateway into actual jobs like video production and editing. For that reason alone I'd say he should be able to at least persue the idea.

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#19 Posted by Stonyman65 (3808 posts) -

It's horrible to say, but let him do it. The YouTube audience will crush his dreams for him. And when he realizes how much work it actually is to make those types of videos with any level of quality....

Don't worry about it. Let him fail on his own. We all wanted to do dumb shit when we were 11. And hey, at least he'snot doing drugs or anything like that.

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#20 Posted by Demoskinos (17458 posts) -
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#21 Posted by Frybird (253 posts) -
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#22 Posted by imsh_pl (4208 posts) -

Remember kids, follow your heart, and don't let anyone else tell you that your dreams are inadequate*.

*as long as your dreams conform to the social ideas of success like becoming a lawyer, an engineer, or a doctor.

It's not like it's a big opportunity cost for him to take up streaming. If he wanted to be a car collector that could be argued to be unrealistic for the budget, but all you have to do to be a good streamer can be achieved with time and dedication, both of which should be had in excess by an enthusiastic 11 year old kid.

Furthermore, it's not like if you don't become Pewdiepie you'll go broke. There's plenty of money to be made just being an average streamer who's dedicated and entertaining enough, either from YouTube ads or Twitch subscribers. Additionally, you actually can learn some marketable skills like community management, video design, etc, which are far better compared to anything a 11 year old could learn by studying harder in 6th grade.

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#23 Posted by oldenglishc (1547 posts) -

@frybird: He sat me down in front of a terrifying documentary.

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#24 Posted by Lost_Remnant (383 posts) -

Sometimes you just have to let kids try even if it ends in spectacular failure. The only thing I think you should do is give him a quick brush up of being guarded of his personal information and like another duder suggested maybe set up a unique e-mail address just for the Youtube account. Be supportive and let him work it out, he'll either quickly get discouraged by the actual work or he'll get super into it and hit the ground running making stuff. The parents of course should monitor and not let his school work sink into oblivion in favor of making Youtube videos. But really, there isn't a whole lot an 11 year old kid could be doing other then school and goofing around. I mean if this kid wants to make Youtube videos and create something he certainly is far ahead then 11 year old me was. All I was doing was getting into fights in school and and butting heads with certain teachers. He'll be fine.

I would also personally go with just a headset first instead of a webcam for his streaming but that's just me.

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#25 Posted by mjhwwbg (183 posts) -

My tip here would be to engage with him. Your right the internet can be a very hostile place for a young kid to be. Therefore take it upon your uncle duties and possibly be there with him when he is recording the videos, even starring with him if you feel up to it. Ultimately, I'd say maybe don't let him do live stuff, at least at the start and see how it goes for him (just because we've all done stupid things at one time or another and those being held forever is maybe not the best thing for an 11 year old). As others have said, this will also help him to develop his editing skills and ensure that nothing that shouldn't be put live, is put live. Review his efforts and give constructive feedback. This way you are still able to protect him but he will see it as you supporting him.

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#26 Posted by DukeMcFrenzy (130 posts) -

Appreciate all the responses! The video editing experience never really occurred to me, that's definitely a positive.

And after posting this I did realize I was being a bit protective of the boy. He lost his father and suddenly I found myself acting as a positive male role in his life. I realize that I can encourage him in the productive aspects of his hobby without being a buzz kill.

We were playing mgs5 yesterday and I made D Horse poop on boss and he laughed so damn hard. It was the best. We kept saying, "do it" 5o each other the rest of the day.

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#27 Edited by ThatOneDudeNick (1569 posts) -

Hell I want to be Carl Sagan someday. I won't, but I work my ass off every day towards that. He can still make a living playing games, even if he's not a millionaire or internationally famous. Be supportive before you expect to listen to him to you about education being important as well. I have some friends that stream on Twitch full time and are quite comfortable. He's no different than any other kid that wants to be an actor or athlete. You can mold his enthusiasm into something powerful, or you can be the enemy (in his eyes) telling him it'll never happen. Tech him some editing and such after he's done his homework.

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#28 Posted by forkboy (1650 posts) -

Honestly, the kid will get the things and play with them for 6 months and move on to something else. At worst it's a harmless hobby.

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#29 Edited by ripelivejam (13185 posts) -

@thatonedudenick: don't remind me. I always looked up to carl and dreamed that id work at jet propulsion laboratory or nasa when i grew up. :(

E: this is probably the best thread title in ages in any case.

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#30 Edited by OrwellHuxZam (184 posts) -

@dukemcfrenzy: Tell him both Pewdiepie and Markiplier went to university for architecture and engineering, respectively.

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#31 Edited by JadeGL (1408 posts) -

I don't think that his desire to get into being a youtube personality is necessarily a bad thing, or unrealistic. It would be a long shot, but a lot of people do stuff online and can be successful with perseverance. Even if they aren't successful, a lot of skills that people who make youtube content use, such as video and audio editing, script writing, graphics creation and other stuff, would be valuable skills in other contexts. I'm just saying, why not let him dabble in it and see if he likes the actual work? He might get bored of it or he might really do well, he won't know unless he tries it out.

He's 11 years old and wanting to do something kind of outlandish at that age is perfectly normal. I wanted to be on Saturday Night Live. I mean, I honestly thought I could be right there with Phil Hartman and Mike Myers. I did acting and stuff in high school, even a few stand up gigs at school events. And what am I doing now? Working in an office. And I'm certainly happy with my job, but I didn't ever envision myself doing it when I was a preteen. I don't think most of us do, and it sounds like your nephew doesn't either.

Also, consider that with age people change their minds a lot. I ended up changing my major when I got into college after a year because I realized that I didn't want to do what I was in school for. Before that, in high school, I went from wanting to be a reporter, a poet, a novelist, a lawyer, a politician, and all kinds of other things I can't think of at the moment. It's natural to dream big. Plus, like I said at the beginning, even if he fails at what he wants to do, he may learn really valuable skills that he can take into a more realistic job later in life.

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#32 Posted by ArbitraryWater (15714 posts) -

Let him try. Kid is young enough that he can still learn from and bounce back from failure, and maybe he'll get something practical out of the experience. Don't crush his dreams, society will do that for you.

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#33 Edited by notnert427 (2230 posts) -

I've got mixed feelings on this. On the one hand, there's the Dan Ryckert story of a guy who had a singular focus on a largely impractical career, who admittedly gave himself little to no fallback plan on purpose and had it all come up aces to where he's pretty much living his dream, and that's fucking awesome. On the other hand, you've got countless others who have tried something similar and failed hard, with a very real opportunity cost of what else they could have been pursuing/mastering in that time.

Your nephew is 11, so he's still young enough to where it's a good thing that he's unrealistically ambitious. That's much better than laziness/apathy. As others have said, his studies should still be a priority even at that age, but beyond that, let him pursue the dream for now. Odds are heavy that it won't work out since millions of people already are and will be trying to do the same thing in a market that's already really difficult to substantially monetize, but he'll probably learn things in the process. At minimum, maybe simply learning how to fail.

It's a different conversation if he's still screwing around with this in high school at the expense of his grades and is considering not going to college or something. That may require a dream-crushing moment, or at least a dream-pausing moment where you advise him to take care of business with his education first and then pursue it after that if he's still interested in it. Odds are by then he'll have either gotten really freaking good at this stuff or moved on to something else. The real world tends to do a good job of determining what you can and can't do, so this will probably ultimately solve itself.

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#34 Posted by SkullPanda1 (1625 posts) -

At best talk to the parents about your concerns, but don't crush his dreams at 11.

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#35 Edited by Turtlebird95 (3618 posts) -

No matter what you tell him it's just going to go in one ear and out the other. Let him try. He'll get four subscribers that are spam accounts after three months and quit anyhow. Like others have said, video editing is probably also going to be too tough for him... especially if he plans on putting things like 30 minute 1080p videos through what I can only assume is Windows Movie Maker on some crappy laptop.

And I mean hey, while I don't know of any squeaky voiced Let's Players who got to Pewdiepie levels of fame, if he did he'd be making some decent bank.

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#36 Posted by DeeGee (2192 posts) -

I'm a teacher, so maybe I am a little bit biased, but the amount of people replying with "let him do it, it's none of your business" is really worrying. Did you people not read this bit?

Normally I would just let him have his dream like any kid his age but it's starting to have an effect on his school work. His attitude towards school has shifted into an, "I don't need to learn this junk because I'm going to be a millionare once my youtube channel hits it big."

There is a huge difference between letting kids be kids and letting a kids attitude to learning go down the drain. You need to pay attention to the sorts of activities they get up to outside of class, especially if he's publishing his voice (potentially face) and name online. Should you put a stop to it and crush his dreams? No. Should you talk to his parents about the potential risks involved with letting an 11 year old go crazy with a youtube account? Yes, of course.

It's also the parents job to be doing this stuff, so don't worry too much at the moment, OP. It's up to the parents to say "hey, you've not done any of your homework, you've just made these sick trick vids for CODBLOPSIII, that's not cool".

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#37 Edited by Sessh (3395 posts) -

This seems perfectly normal for a young kid if you ask me. And, yes, this includes the shift in attitude and the ignorance of school work. I'd only do something if this keeps going on for quite a while. (Repeat years or dropping out of school sucks).

I obviously agree with the person above me though, in that you (or rather the parents) should definitely monitor what he actually puts on YT or whatever, since that could obviously go very wrong in a variety of ways.

Overall I'd just try to be supportive and see where things go in the coming months.

(Also, no offense, but that title is a bit melodramatic.)

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#38 Edited by Jeust (11739 posts) -

@sessh said:

(Also, no offense, but that title is a bit melodramatic.)

And smug.

Let him do what he wants, monitor him, and preach to him. He eventually will take the better path. May he be the next youtube sensation or not. Sometimes people gain unexpected success, contrary to reason and logic.

Just look at Mick Jagger:

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He also thought he'd continue to work as a performer for three years... Well he's still going at it...

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#39 Posted by Pezen (2381 posts) -

One of Sweden's biggest youtube hits domestically started out at around 10 years old and is now supposedly making more money than either of her parents. Also, she's about 13 or 14 now. So you know, it's not impossible.

But also, it's always better to let someone explore their aspirations than kill them. You're not doing them any favors. It's better to try and crash than to never try.

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#40 Posted by Lanechanger (1685 posts) -

Funnel him down the critical path of going to college/university to get a nice business degree and then work in a job in which he has no passion for!

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#41 Edited by 49th (3899 posts) -

When I was 11 I wanted to move to Japan and join a Kung Fu monk school... let him give it a try. He almost certainly won't be successful but at least he will learn useful video editing skills and be creative, I wish I had access to YouTube and equipment when I was younger.

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#42 Edited by Osaladin (2699 posts) -

Show him that he can both, launch a new youtube channel, and be serious in school. If he makes it big, then he can reevaluate schooling. Just don't approach it like an old guy trying to lecture this kid. If it helps, message some big youtubers that he watches/looks up to and I'm sure they'll tell him not to quit school. He may respect it more coming from them.