Tiny Tots Viral Videos - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Tiny Tots Viral Videos

(WFLX) - Nineteen-month-old Micah has a great laugh, and 31-million people from around the world know it. It's all thanks to a home video his father posted for friends and family on YouTube.

The video went viral and started racking up millions of hits. "We were just in shock," said his father, Marcus McArthur.

Micah is part of a growing breed of little Web stars. They're gaining worldwide fame, often, before they're even out of diapers. "They're cute; they're funny. Some of them have sound bites that people quote," said Damian Collier, CEO of Viral Spiral, a group that represents parents who find they have a YouTube hit on their hands.

He says, in addition to fame, there's also a potential fortune to be made on these videos. "Brand sponsorship, product placements, Web sites, books, TV shows," he said.

He points to the father who posted the "David after dentist" video and reportedly earned over $150,000 in ad revenue, merchandise and licensing.

There's the case of  the two dancing twins. Their video scored them a commercial. Lily was also asked to be in an ad when she literally bawled with excitement over a surprise trip to Disneyland. "Anything that is cute or funny, I would say, is hugely in demand," said Collier.

But child and teen development specialist Dr. Robyn Silverman cautions parents to think before they upload. "You never want to demean them, take advantage of them or embarrass them in any way 'cause this is going to live online forever," she said.

Be sure to take safety precautions, she says, because once it's uploaded, you can't control whom watches. "Sometimes, parents will carelessly put geographic markers on their videos, say their full name, say the child's full name, where the child goes to school. All of those things could put your child at risk."

She also advises to ask questions if a third party wants to use the video. "It would be very easy to exploit young children by dubbing something nefarious or something that is a little less savory than the parents might like."

As for Micah, he now has the start of a college fund thanks to his YouTube hit, but that's not what makes his dad smile the most. "The fact that my son's laugh could bring that kind of happiness to people around the world felt really good."

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