Videos in which people film themselves eating food and post it on YouTube have become hugely popular. Now this weird trend is spreading to kids, should we be worried?
LIKE many 2-year-olds, the youngest member of the Candoo family loves fast food. Unlike most 2-year-olds, her parents earn money whenever she eats it. For over half her life, she has been delighting her family’s 370,000 fans by eating in front of a camera. More than 4 million people have watched a video of her enjoying chicken nuggets and fries, while nearly 3 million have viewed her 6-year-old brother devouring a burger.
The Candoos are a family of YouTubers. Parents Katherine and Andrew broadcast themselves and their five children eating fried chicken, tacos, burgers, instant noodles and pizza on their channel Eating with the Candoos. The US family, and others like them, earn money from adverts that play before their videos and take direct sponsorship from companies, most recently a video for food subscription service HelloFresh. Overall, it is pretty simple: they eat, they film themselves, they make money. But why are their videos so popular? And is there a physical and psychological toll on their children?
Originating in South Korea in 2009, a mukbang – Korean for “eating broadcast” – is a video of someone eating large quantities of food. Its pioneers were adults. By 2015, some of the most popular South Korean mukbang creators were reported to earn up to $10,000 a month live-streaming themselves. Academics began theorising about why people enjoy the videos: a study by Hye Jin Kim at Chosun University in South Korea posited that …