You’ve seen them: those cool family videos posted on YouTube. Some simply track the daily lives of kids and families as they seek out fun and adventure, others review toys, document special outings or try to impart a little wisdom and how-to information. A few even make a little money for their efforts while garnering substantial followings.
These Long Island families talk about how they do it.
‘Elle P Stewart’
Elle P. Stewart, 4, is actually making some money with her self-named YouTube Kids show. Her mom, Jenell B. Stewart, a former teacher turned digital media entrepreneur living in western Suffolk County, has her own channel designed to educate and support women of color (youtube.com/blakizbeautyful). Elle has appeared in hundreds of her mom’s videos since birth, which eventually gave rise to her own channel.
“Elle’s channel grew out of a desire to help women in my demographic raise kids,” explains her mom. “I wanted to show the positive side of parenting by incorporating activities like coloring, reading and writing into the daily routine. By showing how I do that with Elle, I am able to support moms in taking care of their children.” The site has more than 2.5 million views.
'The Lauren and Ashley Show'
David Hoffman of Islip, whose daughters star in “The Lauren and Ashley Show,” helped his girls get their channel up and running to document their childhood and to spend quality time with them. Their exploits are based on everyday family activities such as going to the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center in Riverhead, visiting the Long Island Game Farm in Manorville or simply playing a family board game at home.
“I like documenting their childhood,” says Hoffman. “Lauren is 9 and Ashley is 5. They both love doing the show. I never thought about subscribers when we started. It’s really just for family and friends, but we do have about 70 followers now.”
'Playtime With Dylan'
Dylan Rosado of Manorville is not making any money from his YouTube channel “Playtime With Dylan” — at least not yet. In just over a year, his channel has attracted 1,668 subscribers and has topped 80,000 views. The more than 80 videos posted include a trip with his parents to Montauk, where Dylan walks past commercial fishing nets, excitedly checks out the lobsters at Gosman’s Fish Market and appears concerned by the replica of a giant shark with two legs sticking out of its mouth.
“We’re really just having fun,” says Dylan's mother, Holly Rosado, who, along with her husband, Joe, films, edits and posts coverage of their son Dylan’s daily life. “He really likes being on camera, and we all love spending special time together as we film,” she says. “For us, these videos are priceless. If they make a little money someday, that would be fine. If not, we’ll have the memories on file forever.”
‘Badamo Family Fun’
Cait Badamo of Mastic says her children, Lillian, 5, Parker, 3, and Violet, 2, are always looking for fun things to do for their YouTube show, “Badamo Family Fun.” “They’re learning to use the Internet, finding fun things for our family to try, and enjoying a little bit of notoriety. It’s all good,” she says.
“Making these videos should be fun,” says Badamo. “Half the time my kids don’t even know that I’m filming. That allows for more spontaneity. It also makes for more surprises when we view the videos later.”
‘AandA Toys Review’
Gurman Dhillon of Bethpage was a stay-at-home mother when she decided to start posting video of her children, Ariana Virk, 2, and Armaan Virk, 4, on YouTube. “At first, I thought it would just be fun to record our children’s memories,” she says. “Then we posted a video of the kids doing water activities in a giant inflatable water play center and people started asking us to do more similar videos.” The family now has almost 29,000 views on AandA Toys Review.
“We are set to show many more water fun activities for this summer,” Dhillon says. “It’s fun for the kids, and I can see their confidence growing when they get in front of the camera. Armaan, especially, enjoys seeing himself on video, so it has been a really good experience for our family.”