They're the littlest webstars, finding fame and fortune online, before they even have email accounts. Parents are making big bucks out of these tiny tots' viral videos. But before you try to make your child a star, there are some precautions you'll want to take.
19-month-old Micah has a great laugh. 30 million people from around the world know it thanks to a home video his father posted for friends and family on youtube.com. Micah is a part of a growing breed of little web stars gaining worldwide fame, often before they're even out of diapers.
CEO of Viral Spiral, Damian Collier, says, "They're cute, they're funny, some of them have soundbites that people quote."
Viral Spiral represents parents who find they have a Youtube hit on their hands. He says, in addition to fame, there's also a potential fortune to be made on these videos. He says you can get brand sponsorships, product placements, websites, books and TV shows.
One father the posted "David After Dentist" video and reportedly earned more than $150,000 in ad revenue, merchandise and licensing.
Child and teen development specialist Dr. Robyn Silverman cautions parents to think before they upload. She says, "You never want to demean them, take advantage of them or embarrass them in any way because this is going to live online forever."
Another warning, make sure you take safety precautions. Silverman says once the video is uploaded you can't control who watches. She says, "Sometimes parents will carelessly put geographic markers on their videos, say their full name, say the child's full name, where the child goes to school. All of those things could put your child at risk."
Silverman says you should also ask questions if a third party wants to use the video. She says, "It would be very easy to exploit young children by dubbing something nefarious or something that is a little less savory than the parents might like."