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The Very Online Show 08: Family Vlogging Biz

The Very Online Show crew this week examines the utter horror of the family vlogging biz - it's real bad folks!

Tamoor Hussain and Lucy James are very online. Jeff Bakalar is only sorta online.

Oct. 13 2021

Cast: , Jeff B.

Posted by: Jan

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permanentsigh

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Edited By permanentsigh

Lucy! Tam! How I've missed you.

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ak416

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No Caption Provided

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threeOCT

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I never thought off shortening this show to 'TVOS', much less pronouncing it as 'Tee-Voes', but I think I'm alright with it.

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LaezSugam

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What is a "USP?"

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TomyDingo

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Edited By TomyDingo

Great to see this series back! Another fantastic episode!

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BisonHero

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@ak416 said:
No Caption Provided

Not to commodify Jeff's emotional reaction, but that thing's GB chat emote potential is right up there with Brad's cringe face.

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merrvk

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Good to have this series back

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LaezSugam

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This... this was very upsetting...

No Caption Provided

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tartyron

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Well, I'm unhappy forever now.

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bacongames

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Edited By bacongames

The YouTube channel my nephew puts on almost every time he visits is some super annoying let's play/family vlogging account. It has all the stink of desperate YouTuber scthick (shock faces! yelling over cheapo Steam horror games! whoa we got a big new toy!) and the kids being involved front and center. After a while I realized the insidious appeal of it where kids, like my nephew, get this vicarious view of a "happy fun family." It's like a whole layer of parasocial relationship that acts like a salve to his own family's humdrum or dysfunctional day-to-day.

Of course he's 10 so way too young to understand the big forces at play and his parents are clueless and act like YouTube is this frivolous thing. It's all very it's depressing and it made me wonder what sort of unforeseen rot has been planted in his brain.

My hope is that when a lot of the kids who were the target audience of these families grow up, there's a generational conversation they can have about how fucked up this all was (and rightfully asking their parents and powers that be why this was allowed to happen).

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SnaxwellSays

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@laezsugam: Unique Selling Proposition, I believe.

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captubaplayer

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Continue to really enjoy this show. Obviously this was some terrifying stuff but this continues to be a great show. Thanks all!

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TheDrumkid92

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fuck.

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janman

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janman  Staff

Tough editing this one, really made me think of the implications of kids enjoying these Family vloggers because it's something they may not have at their own home. Also I really dig this one family on TikTok and IG but now I wonder how much of it might be forced and actually gross?

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Magman21

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Great show as usual. But man it got a li'l rough there...

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warpr

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ooph that closer. the internet was a mistake.

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ItsAhMe

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I never miss an episode of this.

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SolemnHobo

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@janman: I really appreciated the warning upfront on this one.

I tried to wade through this episode, but couldn't make it to the end.

My reaction to the topic aligned a lot with what was being said up to the point where I dipped out. Knowing that this show's format doesn't lend itself to more in-depth analysis, and assuming that the topic would continue to sadden me too much to be entertained I chose to stop watching it.

I don't want to be too hard on this episode, because the topic is only a stone throw away from topics in past episodes that I did enjoy, but I think this topic is one that might be better served by a different format. The light-hearted vibe of this show seems like it is better suited to topics that can be safely poked fun at. The "older person reacts" format doesn't really give Jeff time to prepare anything more considered on these heavier topics. Everything down to the awesome video editing reinforces that this is a show with a less serious, fun vibe.

If the crew is interested in diving into more serious topics, I would welcome a video series that: approaches those topics with an extra dose of sensitivity, allows more time for in-depth analysis, shares research from reputable sources, interviews subject matter experts, etc.

I have really been enjoying this show, and maybe this episode just hit me a little different for some reason. Please don't be discouraged by any of what I've shared here. I am still looking forward to the next episode.

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csl316

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csl316  Online

One minute, I'm like "the internet's great! I wasn't sure where to go in Metroid and now I do!"

And then the next minute, there's this bullshit. But there's a huge audience for it.

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EphantMon

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Dang, thanks for the warning, don't think I can do this one. Thank you for exposing these people though. See y'all next week!

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heatDrive88

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heatDrive88  Online

Yikes, I never knew about this, to this extent. Thank you for this - as hard as it was. I appreciate it.

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Visualizer

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Edited By Visualizer

@ak416: this was exactly my face/reaction as well

(╬ Ò﹏Ó)

It was a struggle to get through that first video they played.

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gortonimo

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This is the same flavor of hard-hitting journalism I'd expect from Last Week Tonight. I wish it were equally as shareable

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Dizzyhippos

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As someone that learned about this nightmare before, this is 1000% a "The internet was a mistake" topic.

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Ben_H

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Oh no. I haven't even started watching yet but if this is episode is about what I think it's about, it's gonna be extra rough. I got a brief glimpse at this stuff one day and it made me feel completely gross.

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SethMode

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How in the WORLD did this show somehow find a way to show me something worse than the food crimes and DIY shit??? How!?!?!

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BladeOfCreation

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My family got online in 1996 or early 1997 (I remember I was in 6th grade, so it was one of those years). From the beginning, I was told to be extremely careful. I was allowed to say my first name, age, and the state (but specifically not city) I lived in. That sounds like a lot of information, and maybe it was, but there weren't things like social media back then. Obviously the ability to easily take and upload pictures (and to do so from any location) was not a thing. My parents knew my password and I I know they checked on what I did.

People in my generation, who grew up with the same warnings about "the internet is forever," now display every little thing their kids do. From the moment their children are born, their children's lives are online--and notably, children cannot consent to this. It's messed up.

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Sir5000

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Jesus Christ, it's somehow escalated and gotten even worse since Shay Carl

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knoxt

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Edited By knoxt

my reaction EXACTLY.

@ak416 said:
No Caption Provided

what the actual f word, man, I don't mean to jump to conclusions here but that may be the most motor-head woman alive, (holy my gosh), or that is waaay too much cuh'kaine lady. I wasn't even aware people COULD speak that fast.

THAT aside and maybe conjecture; Like the examples shown- the ratio to good examples, and redeemers in this category, to my knowledge, do not exist. Or, simply, this is disgusting, Bleff, your reaction is as I expected, attaboy. Unlike anyone in these family vlogs, I can detect with ease your genuine disgust with this stuff. Yeah, it really is a distilled, and worst context scenario, time bomb of what tragedy on the internet looks like. And more than half of that tragedy ultimately falls on the kid.

Conclusions are not mine to make, blanket statements do not actively engage with the problem intelligently, however, evidence, and I do mean a lot of evidence, points to family Vlogging being objectively "a very bad idea". Turning to explain to a phone as if your kid is too stupid to understand what you're doing, while 'consoling' them, is going to put that kid in therapy for years, at my best guess.

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knoxt

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Edited By knoxt

@janman: (I apologize for the length of this reply feel free to skip it if you are busy or, I am insufferable, both can be true)

To pick up where your question mark left off Jan, I have gone through this exact thought process, though minus the fan part- i never got that far- the thought experiment was conducted before I fell into it. I'm sure there are wonderful people that do this, but...you know, the concept of the thing...and the falsehood of a perfect family, in conflict with the 'modern ideal american family' which, in the internet age, is about showing that, at the speed of the internet. This, I think, is part of the problem at the root of it. It becomes a rough sketch of narcissism and then is very unfortunately clearly pictured as what it is, forced. It has to be because that is not real life, family life, is not something that is ideal in equal parts for the need to have content to fill a channel. It psychologically, even more meta, encourages a parent to take on an acting role at worst, and a camera-friendly persona at best, which on some level for both, is fake. To be fake on camera, at your kid, about your kid, for your kid, is bad. To parent and fake it, is to teach a child that it is important to be fake, which, to loosely define, means void of authenticity. We really don't need any more lack of authenticity. (honestly that's why I've been here, and not watching family vlogs since 2009. Which I would not anyway, because of reasons mentioned, and, one extra- simple respect for the family, even if they don't care for that barrier.)

My dad, rip, is still my lifelong hero (thank you for the words back then, not sure if you remember, but I do, you are a hero too), and that man talked with me with focus, and attention, but not constant badgering attention. During gatherings, he was the same person, on camera, he was himself, he didn't parade me around, there was time where heck, he just wanted to watch golf, and told me to go outside, or took away my nintendo, or whatever. That was important stuff for me. Sometimes he yelled, but I was a brat, but the thing I remember was the wisdom at every turn, and if it ever was his mistake, he apologized to me, not to the internet. (in turn, this in very big ways taught me how to know right from wrong, and how to genuinely empathize, apologize, and learn from mistakes without being anything like well, the internet, which did not 'exist', in any shareable way, which; if out there there exist a family vlogger dad like mine, I expect he would stop quickly for the very reasons I can very easily imagine my dad explaining in what he would say is simply "not a good idea" with a serious look, meant only for me, to communicate how important it is, and it's reflected in what I am saying now.

And, yeah, even the best case scenario to me personally, even aside from my very very fortunate, and priveledged, never taken for granted, and ever thankful-for family situation as a kid, the idea that vlog families disrupts in many psychologically gross ways any possibility of dedicated, authentic parenting, because ever present, ever important, is the invisible family member named Internet. Trading the opportunity to grow up, for clicks, much less instilling, in fact discouraging basic human behavior, is something I have a hard time understanding. It's something both of my parents would have called 'abhorrent' (both of them teachers). As middle class priveledged as I was, my family fought, it was a troubled house at times of my life, but those were also important. Had they been a 'recorded event', all value in any lesson would have gone un-learned, and un-felt, and good lord, the natural conclusion to that kind of environment I feel like would have made me psychopathic. Thus I feel even more grateful, for my formative years' several year distance from *waves hands* all of this.

I wound up knowing how to think, how to re-think, knowing what is in poor taste, and what is straight up no-go territory. Trading the opportunity to have this for clicks...feels tragic even with god-tier parenting skills, and share-button-built, like you hit record on your playstation before you are about to do a Parent The Baby stunt- except it's either a performance spoken piece about the kid, or some very ugly extremes, which, guh, double digit examples.

I don't mean to be a bummer, I just want to contribute to the conversation, I am sorry I didn't directly address your example but I don't have that context so, my nebulous thought cluster there I hope gives some more clues for you, I know I am still trying to understand how I feel about this internet thing, and trying to make sure my soul retains real world values in the process. To understand, sometimes we must look at the ugly side of the thing we want to make better; perhaps for the family, and the internet, family vlogs as a general thing, is an enabling entity that has, likely, subtle extra pressure being on camera while taking care of your kid, that continues to mount with the sub numbers, that you lose it, even if a good parent "caught up in the moment" of their routinely routine routine (woah)- like an actor, you don't always keep your cool during a take- and in this context that's not acceptable. You cannot Christian Bale when your kid walks through the set.

And it can happen to good people that thought this might be a fun thing to do, but because we are human, engaging the most vulnerable things to the most intoxicating, and intoxifying judgement altering vehicle for communication, always there, and for this subculture, a reason to watch. And honestly, I don't have any reason to watch. That's not my place, and these families are not people I want to allow to share with me their lives that intimately, and neither do they, in the end, as I have never seen any one of these family vlogs close down naturally, with a happy closing episode.

BUMMER MAN. But, you know, very very good show as usual, Thank you four, this is interesting because it's important, and handled, edited and smartly considered as an ongoing discussion to keep an eye on because, perhaps, one day, awareness could lead to change, even on the internet.

HECK-O, I"M NOT EVEN A PARENT! OR A GOOD WRITER!

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SethMode

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I finally finished this...it took some time because it's nuts. There were times where Lucy made faces that reminded me of Nic Cage in 8mm. Such a troubling thing.

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SethMode

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@bladeofcreation: we weren't online quite that early, but we did start in 98 I want to say. And everything you said is true. It's so wild to me that people from our generation went from overprotective internet usage to devil-may-care child abuse with their kids. I remember being so wary of the internet they I thought the first time I said I was 18 on a porn site cops were going to kick in the door. It's crazy to think how that "everyone is watching" mentality just got chucked out of the window for viral shit, fame, and money (not that crazy I guess but whatever).

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Korva

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Yeah so after watching this video I went down a rabbit hole, and have since found out that one of these family vloggers literally "rehomed" one of their adopted sons.

Fuck the internet, burn it all down.

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alistercat

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Lucy has slightly off audio sync on her camera. It's also there on her twitch streams.

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Ravelle

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We had a talk show here in The Netherlands that featured and had over a family that vlogged about their daughter, put her in front of a camera every day. You can clearly tell it's all the parents idea, or the father who doesn't seem the smartest individual.

I was watching this with the parents and were all disgusted and angry while watching this, we must not spotlight these people, even when the subject is considered horrible and even when you address that, you still give them the attention.

It's called, " My Daughter the vlogger" It's in Dutch, so enable captions if you want to watch it.

‘Mijn dochter de vlogger’ - YouTube

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megamelozzar

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This is a really big "I hate all of this but I can't look away" episode

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MeierTheRed

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If the subset of TV/Move child actors of the 80's and 90's are any indication to go by, my guess is that the ramifications this could have on their lives could be equal or probably worse.

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zkrizt

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I think family vloggers are scummy but a subset of the people who follow them are the ultimate creeps.

There's a YouTuber I follow called Barry Lewis, he has a cooking channel and does gadgets which is very entertaining because he messes up a lot and is generally a bit of a goof, anyway, he has his family in about a third to a half of the videos. I'm usually not a fan of those videos so I usually skip them but whenever they're not featured there's always a ton of comments not only begging for him to feature his kids but also talking about them like they know the kids? Like they know what the kids would like or would be saying? Wayyy too familiar with people they don't know, really creepy, there's something really wrong with people that think it's normal to talk about other people's children (CHILDREN!) like that.

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DoctorFaust

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Edited By DoctorFaust

What? REALITY TV is evolving!

♪ ♪ ♫ ♪

REALITY TV evolved into NEVERENDING INAUTHENTIC SOCIAL MEDIA NIGHTMARE!

This whole shitshow (family vlogging, not the actual TVOS show) is terrible from both ends and dangerous in all directions. The desire/pressure to turn on a personality you can't risk turning off for an audience that invariably includes people who develop an unhealthy perception of long-distance intimacy that is in actuality unrequited is one of the most toxic combinations we've developed as a species. Yes, this applies to celebrities of all types, but the more your celebrity (read: entertainment value) is based on personal rather than professional aspects, the more insidious this poison becomes and the less likely you'll be able to remove it from your system without damaging yourself. Orders of magnitude worse when you're a child who can't consent to it.

Someone likened this episode to "Last Week Tonight" but this is exactly the kinda shit I wanted to see them cover. I'm not the ideal audience by any means, and I know the show is generally more lighthearted, but check out how deep (if not depressing) some of these comments are. There's some really awful "banality of evil" shit in this world, and knowledge is power you can arm yourself with for self-defense.

So, kudos for helping expose part of the dark and gross underbelly of the Internet on this one. Except this isn't even the underbelly—more like polyps and warts that developed on its scaly hide. By no means am I suggesting they try to cover the worst parts, although stuff that seems obscure but is actually really popular and just happens to be off your radar seems very much in the spirit of this show. Like those machine learning "cartoons" where Spider-Man gives Peppa Pig a root canal and gets eaten alive or some shit. [Edit: Oh, hey! Tam mentions this in the YouTube pedophile conversation that starts around the 30:00 mark.] Those were bad. Bad enough to make YouTube get off its lazy ass and start filtering the content or modifying the algorithmic suggestions, unlike say, the various radicalization rabbit holes that still exist.

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beggary

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Edited By beggary

My niece is obsessed with these, and it feels like the parts of Fahrenheit 451 that are ACTUALLY trenchant, the parts where they watch families fight on giant walls and buy new characters for the stories.

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Snarkasaur

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I can't believe how angry that video made me. Yeet that "mother" to the heat death of the universe and get that kid a real family.

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Ryaer

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Damn I hate these people so much

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threeOCT

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Jokes on us: next week's episode is on the history of Goatse.

(I've read at least two articles on it, it being either the site, the man with the gape, or both and apparently there are many more articles and (I presume sfw) YT videos on the subject.)

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Paul_Tillich

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Edited By Paul_Tillich

Well, it was a bad run, but it is time to put down the internet.