The Boy King of YouTube

"Until recently," writes the NY Times' Jay Caspian Kang, "my daughter and I were somehow able to avoid the king of toy videos: Ryan Kaji." There's no one way to describe what Kaji, who is now 10 years old, has done across his multiple YouTube channels, cable television shows and live appearances: In one video, he is giving you a tour of the Legoland Hotel; in another, he splashes around in his pool to introduce a science video about tsunamis. But for years, what he has mostly done is play with toys: Thomas the Tank Engine, "Paw Patrol" figures, McDonald's play kitchens. A new toy and a new video for almost every day of the week, adding up to an avalanche of content that can overwhelm your child's brain, click after click. Kaji has been playing with toys on camera since Barack Obama was in the White House. Here are a few of the companies that are now paying him handsomely for his services: Amazon, Walmart, Nickelodeon, Skechers. Ryan also has 10 separate YouTube channels, which together make up "Ryan's World" [31.2M subscribers], a content behemoth whose branded merchandise took in more than $250 million last year. Even conservative estimates suggest that the Kaji family take exceeds $25 million annually. Thanks to long-time Slashdot reader theodp for sharing the article — and for summarizing one of its most startling details. "Not too surprisingly, Ryan's mother and father paused their teaching and engineering careers to focus on Ryan's empire after seeing the reaction to Ryan's breakout 2016 video, which now has 2+ billion YouTube views." The Times' reporter quips that the videos capture glimpses from "the only world in which children do not stare at screens" — then wonders if that's even true, sharing their observation from the filming of a special toy-themed TV show with Ryan. "I overheard a crew member say to him, 'If you finish this scene, you can play Minecraft.' "

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