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- American kids would rather be YouTubers than astronauts when they grow up, according to a survey by The Harris Poll.
- In China, the trend is reversed — more kids are interested in going to space than becoming influencers.
- The most successful YouTubers have become celebrities, earning millions of dollars a year.
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Going to the moon is no longer the ultimate dream for many American kids today.
They’d rather be vloggers or YouTubers instead, reported Eric Berger for Ars Technica, citing a new survey by The Harris Poll on behalf of Lego. The survey asked 3,000 kids in the US, UK, and China what they wanted to be when they grew up, presenting them with five options: vlogger/YouTuber, teacher, professional athlete, musician, and astronaut.
In both the US and UK, vlogger/Youtuber was the most popular choice (29% and 30% respectively); astronaut, meanwhile, was the least popular (11%). In China, the trend was reversed, with more than half of respondents selecting astronaut (56%).
The reason for the differences is unknown. "Perhaps it is because America has been there and done that, in terms of lunar exploration, with the Apollo program," Berger wrote. "Perhaps it is that America’s kids today grew up with continuous national human representation in space, aboard the International Space Station, and do not find an orbiting outpost in low-Earth orbit stimulating. Or perhaps the education system in China places a higher emphasis on the value of science and space exploration."
Or perhaps it has nothing to do with space at all. The most successful YouTubers make millions of dollars a year. YouTube’s richest star — seven-year-old Ryan of Ryan ToysReview — raked in $22 million in 2018, according to Forbes’ list of highest-paid YouTube stars.
There’s no denying the influence of YouTube on pop culture — the platform’s biggest stars have become worldwide influencers who often launch a host of businesses from personal clothing lines and custom toy brands to live tours.
As Business Insider’s Paige Leskin wrote, "YouTube has become the de-facto launchpad for the next generation of celebrities, personalities, and big stars."
It seems that American kids care more about being famous than exploring space — although there’s no denying that the latter comes with its own fame, too.
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