US-Based Toy Unboxing Production in Children’s Culture

Authored by: Jarrod Walczer

The Routledge Companion to Digital Media and Children

Print publication date:  October  2020
Online publication date:  October  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138544345
eBook ISBN: 9781351004107
Adobe ISBN:


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Using a circuit of culture approach to critically examine the US-based YouTube creators who make toy unboxing videos for children, this chapter offers insights into the intermingled algorithmic, commercial, and personal incentives that underpin unboxing’s creator culture. Drawing from 25 interviews with top-ranking toy unboxers, the chapter considers YouTubers and their personae; YouTube as a global firm; the political-economy and production culture of toy unboxing; audience attention; and issues of trust and regulation. The research explores creators’ attempts to create ethical media for child audiences while concurrently optimising their content to make it visible via YouTube’s algorithms.

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