While the platform of YouTube celebrities may come off as child-friendly at first glance, the disturbing trend of child predation continues to rise
We have all most likely heard this quirky little catchphrase at least once no matter the context. James Charles is perhaps one of the most successful youtubers to ever touch the platform. At just 21 years old, Charles is a makeup “icon” who has accumulated over 25 million subscribers and is worth approximately 12 million dollars. He has had numerous deals with big companies such as Morphe and seems to have his entire life in front of him, blessed with limitless wealth and power. But all of that was thrown away on April 21, 2021, when Charles came out with an apology video admitting to messaging underage boys and announcing a break from creating content on his YouTube channel.
Of course, Charles is no stranger to controversy and scandal, but admitting to Snapchatting underage boys has definitely crossed the line from petty “cancel culture” to an actual crime that can be punished with jail time. Currently, James has confessed to messaging two sixteen-year-olds, knowing they were both minors and unable to legally give consent. These conversations included intentions of uncomfortable flirting, all the way to exchanging sexually explicit photos. Charles has a disturbing pattern of hitting up boys he finds attractive, and then asking to escalate their conversation in Snapchat (remember, this specific social media site has applications where messages and photos can be easily wiped). Because of the undeniable power that comes with his fame and wealth, a lot of underaged boys that come in contact with Charles may feel almost obliged to talk to him.
Ms. Christensen is an English teacher in American High School who actively works with freshmen and sophomores and understands especially how fragile minors’ mental health can be when it comes to communicating inappropriately with adults.
“Even as you turn 18, some kids may not be able to fully grasp the concept of becoming and accepting the consequences of being a legal adult. It absolutely disgusts me that someone as privileged as James Charles knows what he is doing is wrong, yet still goes after literal children. This will bring mental scars to these victims that can potentially stick around forever.”
Gauri Chahal is an American High School junior who exposes some light on her point of view to the drastic age difference between Charles and his victims.
“No matter what the context is, an adult hitting up a younger kid is usually up to no good. Especially when they say things like ‘Hey you are very mature for your age.’ It is all a scheme to manipulate kids into wanting to spend more time with the predator. They will say sweet words, maybe even send gifts, but ultimately the adult slowly gains control over the kids. James does the exact same thing, but he uses his influence and his popularity to kind of sway kids into a position favorable for him”.
Charles has yet to be investigated, but he has remained steadily quiet as he and his PR team try to save face and his reputation. Morphe has since cut ties with him and they claim that they are “winding down sales.” James Charles’s palette has been seen on sale as Morphe tries to flush as many of his products out as fast as possible.
Predators on YouTube may seem rare on the platform, since many expect these influencers to understand the consequences of talking to minor fans, but this claim, unfortunately, is dead wrong. On April 18, 2021 a small group of youtubers worked together to expose another famous youtube star called “EDP445” or Bryant Morland. Over the span of months, Morland communicated with a girl who was only thirteen years old. Of course this was a set up, and the minor was actually a decoy used to catfish and lure out predators, just like in Chris Hanson’s To Catch A Predator.
Morland had spent months chatting with this thirteen-year-old girl; conversations ranged from favorite foods and school to much more disturbing content, such as sexually explicit topics. Morland even sent a picture of his own stool to the decoy, which grossed and shocked many of his fans. Creepy messages such as “luv u princess, kiss your daddy goodnight” were leaked to the public, and the entire YouTube community reacted with outrage and were absolutely stupefied.
Shama Whaba (11) has long been a fan of using Youtube for entertainment and when she first laid her eyes on the exposure of EDP445, she was astonished, unable to speak.
“I had no idea who this guy was, but the thought that a grown thirty-year-old man was able to get in touch with such a young girl actually makes me sick to my stomach. He needs to be punished for this. I do not understand how people like him are not locked up in prison right away. My brother used to be a fan. I do not know how he is gonna react to this news”.
So many famous people have been exposed for inappropriate communication with minors, what is next? Just what consequences should these adults face for knowingly putting children in potential danger? Youtube has already taken steps to properly penalize both creators’ channels, fully demonetizing Charles and EDP445 so neither of them can make a single penny from their videos anymore and removing them from Youtube’s partner program. But taking away partial profits from powerful figures will not wipe away the scars their victims have obtained; some are even too afraid to come out with their truths in fear of being bashed by loyal fan bases. So is there a solution to this uprising problem of power complex abuse? Or will Youtube continue to remain silent, until it is too late to redo possible permanent damage to their own community.