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School Of Communications

Unpacking the Tactics in Kids’ Unboxing Videos

BYU School of Communications Professor Jason Freeman Investigates the Effects Unboxing Videos Can Have on Children

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It’s no secret that children today are navigating a more complicated media ecosystem than prior generations. One notable change is evident in the types of commercial messages that children encounter online. Parents are increasingly tasked with the burden of educating their children about the sophisticated tactics used by advertisers.

Jason Freeman, a professor in BYU’s School of Communications, is anxious to be part of the solution. Freeman’s academic research examines the ways media influences children, and what parents need to do to mitigate its effects.

According to Freeman’s latest research, subtle advertising and product placement in sponsored YouTube videos is one context that parents should be aware of. Videos of a child influencer opening a toy and demonstrating how to play with it have become wildly popular on YouTube, many garnering tens of millions of views from children around the globe. In fact, Walmart has a line of toys based on the reviews of a prominent kid YouTuber, Ryan Kaji of Ryan’s World. Unbeknownst to child viewers, however, is the fact that many of the toys shown in unboxing videos are paid for or provided by a brand, with the goal of influencing children.

Read the full BYU News article here.

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