Special Report: Tiny Tots go viral

Special Report: Tiny Tots go viral

They're the littlest webstars, finding fame and fortune online before they even have their own email accounts. And parents are making big bucks from these tiny tots' viral videos. But before you try to make your child a star, there are some precautions you'll want to take.
Nineteen-month-old Micah has a great laugh. And 31-million people from around the world know it, 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," Micah’s father Marcus McArthur said.

Micah is part of a growing breed of little web stars gaining worldwide fame, often before they're even out of diapers.

Damian Collier is the CEO of "Viral Spiral" a group that represents parents who find they have a Youtube hit on their hands.

"They're cute, they're funny, they, some of them have sound bites that people quote," Collier said.

He says, in addition to fame, there's also a potential fortune to be made on these videos.

"Brand sponsorship, product placements, websites, books, TV shows," Collier said.

Like the father who posted the "David after Dentist" video and reportedly earned over $150,000 in ad revenue, merchandise and licensing. Or 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," Collier said.

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," Dr. Silverman said.

And be sure to take safety precautions, she says. Once it's uploaded you can't control who 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,” Dr. Silverman said. “All of those things could put your child at risk."

Be sure 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," Collier said.

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 was, was… felt really good," Marcus said.

Remember, by uploading a video, you're starting your child's online portfolio - which will live with him or her for the rest of their lives. Experts suggest you ask yourself - in ten years will my child be proud of this video? Or embarrassed?

Because what goes online, stays online forever.

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