A new study has found that kid YouTube influencers are marketing junk food to kids, using videos that reach a billion views.

You might want to check up on your kids’ online habits. A new study found that kid influencers are pushing junk food to other kids through YouTube videos. Moreover, these videos rack up billions of views. 

Junk Food Ads

CNN reports that this study appeared in the Pediatrics journal on Monday. According to the study, these videos show that advertisers willingly exploit the internet to market products to children. In this case, the products are junk food and sugary beverages.

According to Marie Bragg, parents should be skeptical of kid-friendly influencer videos on YouTube. Bragg teaches public health nutrition at New York University’s School of Global Public Health and Langone Medical Center. She was also the study’s senior author. 

How the Study Went

The researchers studied videos posted on YouTube in 2019. In the videos, the influencers were between 3 to 14 years old. While watching the videos, the team noted each time the influencers ate food or played with toys. The food included McDonald’s meals. Moreover, the team logged the time that the influencers spent eating or playing.

Overall, the team watched 418 YouTube videos. Of the 418 videos, 179 showed food or drinks. Moreover, 90% of these videos showed branded junk food, such as fast food items. These videos also had views of over a billion. 

How to Address Junk Food Ads

Bragg says that parents should limit their children’s viewing time on YouTube. Even kid-friendly or educational videos could introduce them to unhealthy habits. Moreover, doctors could also inform parents about stealth marketing to children. In short, YouTube influencers are still selling stuff to your children.

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