A Tale of Two Teen YouTubers
19-year-old Bethany Mota posts videos on YouTube that get 20 to 30 million views a week. She started when she was 13. Mota’s father, Tony, happens to be her manager–they’ve done multi-million dollar deals with clothing companies, she appeared on Dancing With the Stars. Tony Mota recently told a conference that allowing his daughter to post very personal videos for public view on YouTube at age 13 helped her self-esteem. Mota said the same in an DWTS interview, saying it helped her when she was being bullied.
Yet the majority of online posters don’t become stars–many experience the opposite effect, with their posts inviting bullying that wouldn’t otherwise have an outlet. Last March of this year, 16-year-old Martin Holder killed himself in his bedroom after a campaign of bullying against him. According to his parents, Holder had been bullied most of his life. But his final effort to reach out on YouTube through his music, posting video of himself performing, led to a new surge of bullying and abusive comments. Holder had attempted, like Mota, to open himself up publicly on this most public of forums–YouTube–and the reaction was blistering and mean.
Here’s Bethany Mota, a YouTube success story. Not all teen YouTube stories are like hers.