As the dawn of the metaverse approaches rapidly, the distinctions between real life and virtual reality are blurring by the second. Regarding online fame and popularity, “authenticity” is no longer a goal for devoted fans and followers. Virtual avatars are sweeping the globe, from social media celebrities to live streamers.
Join us for a discussion on the emergence of virtual YouTubers, whether you’re a perplexed parent who’s stumbled onto their videos or you’re simply interested in learning more about this new virtual environment.
VTuber is a shorthand for virtual YouTubers. In videos, VTubers utilizes a computer-generated avatar instead of exposing their face. They typically prefer anonymity, masking their true identity behind an avatar. This anonymous approach to video production allows anyone to develop an online presence and audience without ever having to divulge their true identity.
- Telling stories (often called “Storytime” videos)
- Live to stream
- Playing video games
- Hosting interviews and Q&As
- Taking part in online challenges
- Creating their own pop songs
While the name originally referred to these virtual personas on YouTube, the VTuber phenomenon is now widespread across the internet, from TikTok to Twitch.
When and Where did the virtual YouTuber trend start?
Long before they gained popularity on YouTube, virtual avatars were already a part of media culture. Max Headroom, a computer-generated television host, appeared on British television in 1985, while Hatsune Miku, a Japanese virtual idol, has been performing as a projected hologram since 2007.
VTubers may have emerged in the early 2010s, according to one theory. Ami Yamato, a Japanese YouTuber located in London, England, began uploading videos with a virtual avatar rather than her actual picture in 2011. In 2015, Barbie launched her own virtual YouTube channel, communicating with followers with hairdo lessons, interviews, and quizzes.
With the emergence of a new Japanese avatar in the middle of the 2010s, the VTuber genre finally gained widespread popularity.
While Ami Yamato was the first YouTuber to generate vlog-style material on the site, Kizuna Ai, a Japanese VTuber who debuted in 2016, originated and popularised the term “virtual YouTuber.”
Kizuna Ai’s anime avatar gained rapid popularity in Japan because of her cheery, charming personality and consistent uploads. VTubers sprang everywhere and were featured in commercial ads, television shows, and billboards throughout Shibuya as the craze quickly became a part of Japanese popular culture.
Most Popular VTubers
Although the majority of prominent VTubers are Japanese, interest in English-language producers is rising rapidly. Gawr Gura, an English-speaking virtual YouTuber, was the first to surpass 4 million followers on the site in June 2022.
Why are V-tubers so popular?
The worldwide epidemic of 2020 helped elevate and popularise virtual characters, as more people than ever before tuned in to game live streams and saw more YouTube videos. Despite the fact that VTubers were already popular in Japan at the time, this peak connectivity helped to popularise characters, and more VTubers began filming and streaming in English.
Virtual YouTubers are also popular among anime viewers, who frequently share interests with VTubers, such as gaming and Japanese music.
These avatars cross the barrier between the virtual world and the real world, allowing VTubers to develop unique and creative content. The absence of human “baggage” in virtual avatars means that, compared to other online communities, the VTuber environment is typically less dramatic and more positive.
How can a person become a VTuber?
Rather than independent content producers, the majority of prominent VTubers are anime characters owned and developed by corporations or people who work via agencies for a firm.
The number of virtual YouTubers increases annually, and virtual streamers are likewise gaining in popularity over time. As a beginner VTuber, you would be required to build your own avatar or invest in its development, utilize a high-quality webcam, and pay for software that helps track and capture your own movement and facial expressions so you can broadcast your character.
To be successful in the realm of VTubing, you would need an original character and a winning online identity, as well as an initial investment in the technology required to film or stream as your virtual avatar.
Is it safe for children to watch VTubers?
VTubers have gotten into their fair share of trouble on occasion. Popular art streamer Annie was banned from Twitch for a week for allegedly displaying “explicit” content, and curiously, VTuber Rushia was embroiled in online conflict with irate followers about her relationship status. But for younger viewers, the situation worsens.
Despite the possibility that the fact that the most popular VTubers are all women is perhaps a coincidence, you must evaluate who actually watches this type of video. Numerous VTubers utilize infantile, adorable photos as their virtual avatar and talk in a voice that is readily mistaken for that of a child.
Although many VTubers are presented as youngsters, they frequently hint at adult subjects in their videos. Despite her obvious schoolgirl age, Kizuna Ai’s thumbnails sometimes contain hypersexualized images that focus on her rear end or breast. And that’s only one designer.
Although many avatars may appear to be created with children in mind, it is important to keep in mind that not all viewers are children. It is possible for children to connect with adults in the comments areas of live streams, where they may be exposed to improper content or prompted to disclose personal information.
The following suggestions will help restrict your child’s YouTube exposure to unsuitable content:
- Co-watching, in which you offer them to show you the videos they are now enjoying so you may watch them together.
- Using a YouTube monitoring or parental control application that displays the videos your child has seen on YouTube
- Turning off Autoplay will prevent them from falling down the rabbit hole of suggested material.
- Enabling Restricted Mode in order to filter unwanted content
As with everything on the internet, it’s vital to have regular conversations with your child about the videos they’re watching and the information they enjoy consuming. Thus, you will be able to get more involved with your child’s hobbies and interests.
Regularly check in with your children and, if required, investigate particular movies if you have grounds for worry. By knowing the material people watch on a regular basis, you’ll be better able to relate to them and establish positive, healthy habits for online video platforms.