Popular YouTube Gamers Kids Can't Get Enough Of

YouTube gamers are super popular -- but not always age-appropriate. By Caroline Knorr
Popular YouTube Gamers Kids Can't Get Enough Of

When kids love a video game, it's not enough to just play the game. They want to watch other people play the game. When that craving sets in, they turn to YouTube, where they can choose from hundreds of videos of gamers playing and commenting on games (called "Let's Play" videos). In the world of YouTube gaming, a gamer's commentary is just as important as his or her skills. And that's where things get a little dicey.

A YouTube game channel lives and dies on the host's personality. Some personalities -- for example, Stampy, the British Minecraft-playing cat -- are sweet and totally fine for kids. But others, such as Swedish gamer PewDiePie, who was found to have anti-Semitic images and ideas on his videos, are brash, rude, and very edgy. Some YouTube gamers also offer videos, including music, skits, and rants that have nothing to do with games.

While YouTube can be a great resource for game tips, insider info, and news, it's a mixed bag. It's a good idea to have some awareness and oversight of what kids are watching. And be aware that YouTube gamers maintain active online presences on social media. We've identified some of the most popular gamers on YouTube and provided some tips on trying to keep the experience as fun and safe as possible for kids.

Tips

  • Make sure they're getting a good balance between playing and couch-potatoing. Kids can learn a lot from playing certain video games, especially building games such as Minecraft and Roblox. But if they're watching, not playing, it's hard to say it's really educational.
  • Keep an eye on what your kid is watching. You may be careful about which video games your kids can play. But on YouTube, they can watch gamers play all sorts of games, including possibly age-inappropriate ones such as Call of Duty. Even YouTube gamers who mostly upload "safe" Let's Plays may play the occasional mature game. 
  • Check the related videos. The videos listed to the side of the main YouTube channel may not be age-appropriate, even if they appear next to an age-appropriate video. Learn some tricks to make YouTube a little safer.
  • Be aware of edgy language and content. If your kids like video games, they will get exposed to strong language and age-inappropriate content while they're hunting for YouTube videos. It's pretty unavoidable. You can somewhat limit the inappropriate stuff by turning on YouTube's Restricted Mode (found at the bottom of every YouTube page).
  • Note the ads. Nearly every YouTube video -- especially ones on the most popular channels -- has an ad. And even if the channel itself is age-appropriate, the ads may not be. YouTube is offering a $9.99 subscription service called YouTube Red that eliminates ads.

iBallisticSquid: iBallisticSquid is David Spencer, a real-life friend of Stampy (below) and a fellow Briton. The two often play Minecraft together. Spencer has more kid-oriented YouTube channels, including SquiddyVlogs and SquiddyPlays, where he offers playthroughs of more games, such as Roblox and Rocket League. He actively cultivates an audience on his popular Facebook page, iBallisticSquidNugget.
Target age: Little kids

Stampy: Also known as Mr. Stampy Cat and stampylonghead, this British cartoon cat voiced by Joseph Garrett is most popular for his Minecraft videos, which he uploads every day. (Find more kid-friendly Minecraft YouTube channels.) He plays a wide variety of games, including Pokémon: Moon and Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Stampy has branched out into books and TV.
Target age: Little kids

Ethangamer: This young British gamer plays kid-friendly games such as Minecraft and Roblox as well as mobile games such as Vlogger Go Viral. He's so popular, there's a special "hangout" on Roblox where his fans can get together.
Target age: Tweens

DanTDM: This 20-something Brit specializes in Minecraft videos but also plays tween-friendly games such as Roblox and Happy Wheels. As one of the most highly subscribed YouTubers, he also has a series on the site's subscription service, YouTube Red, and a national tour where kids can see him live. He sometimes lets out a swear word, but he bleeps them in editing.
Target age: Tweens and teens

Markiplier: Best known for his gaming videos, Markiplier has branched out into comedy, music videos, and animation. He plays a wide range of games including scary games such as Five Nights at Freddy's and Among the Sleep. He also has a presence on social media, including Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Target age: Tweens and teens

PopularMMOs: Almost entirely devoted to Minecraft, PopularMMOs explores a huge range of Minecraft "mods," (downloadable add-on games). Pat, the host, does a great job of explaining strategies and concepts. He also has a popular website (popularmmos.com) where he offers one of the biggest collections of Minecraft mods and maps, which users can download into their own games.
Target age: Tweens and teens

Captainsparklez: Captainsparklez, otherwise known as Jordan Maron, offers a wide range of Minecraft videos but also some mature Let's Plays such as Call of Duty: Black Ops II Zombies and Grand Theft Auto 5. Maron has other channels where he vlogs and plays music.
Target age: Teens

Jacksepticeye: With his signature greeting "Top of the mornin' to ya, laddies," Jackscepticeye is one of the most popular gamers on YouTube. His upbeat personality makes him seem benign, but he tends to swear and play violent games such as Resident Evil and Sword with Sauce. Jacksepticeye actively engages with his audience on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram.
Target age: Teens

LtCorbis: Though only in middle school, LtCorbis is known for foul-mouthed rants that have made her one of the most popular kids on YouTube. She's not in the same league as some of the popular gamers such as Jacksepticeye or DanTDM, but she has an internet presence on other sites such as Reddit and Twitter. She tends to play mature games while describing unrelated experiences (for example, her day at school or an argument with someone on the internet). Don't let her youth fool you: Her videos are very mature.
Target age: Teens

PewDiePie: Even non-gamers have probably now heard of PewDiePie, who was one of the first YouTube gamer personalities to start making big bucks online. In 2017, he became famous for posting anti-Semitic content, which cost him his lucrative relationship with Disney but seemed to only galvanize his fans, who felt he was unfairly targeted. His channel mixes mature Let's Plays, rants, and offensive content. PewDiePie branched out into apps, shows, games, and books.
Target age: Teens

Vanoss Gaming: The host of this channel is so popular, game companies give him games to play in advance of their release to generate excitement about them. Most of the games he plays are mature (including Ghost Recon Wildlands, Grand Theft Auto 5, and Call of Duty: Black Ops III Zombies).
Target age: Teens

Yogscast Lewis & Simon: The zany hosts behind this popular channel play lots of games that are age-appropriate for kids and tweens, including Minecraft. While their commentary is mild, they sometimes play teen-oriented games such as Grand Theft Auto 5. They've branched out into vlogging, music videos, and other content.
Target age: Teens

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About Caroline Knorr

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As Common Sense Media's parenting editor, Caroline helps parents make sense of what’s going on in their kids' media lives. From games to cell phones to movies and more, if you're wondering "what’s the right age for…?"... Read more

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Comments (12)

Adult written by F1ood

Well, this can all be avoided if you just turn on restricted mode, which restricts anything inappropriate, keep watch though because it's not 100% perfect.
Kid, 12 years old

PopularMMOs is my favorite, and his wife GamingWithJen uploads great and safe material as well. In his old videos he used to swear, but he is now clean and careful about his language and they make fun videos.
Adult written by Sam P.

Just so you guys know Yogscast guys cuss a lot. And say f-words, they are a really great community though.
Teen, 13 years old written by CMANtheGreat

The channel name is really spelled DanTDM with a capital D, but it doesn't really matter. Also you should mention that JackSepticEye swears. Like, a lot.
Parent written by Kristin R.

My tweens (13 and 11) love PeanutButterGamer. He is very age-appropriate, and does game playing and discussion as well as poking fun at weird, outdated video games. My kids think he's a riot.
Parent of a 8 year old written by Takako N.

My 8yo daughter follows/watches RadioJH Games which features a young girl named Audrey playing Roblox (among other games, I think), and Gamer Chad, who also plays Roblox. I have told her she can't play until 13 so she watches them play in the meantime. I've listened in/watched with her occasionally and they seem to be easily excitable (but they're tweens/young teens, so.) but otherwise relatively wholesome kids.
Parent of a 4 and 6 year old written by Goofy Gamer Kids

My 6yo son plays Roblox, I don't think you need to be 13 to play. Parents should be aware that Roblox games are made by a community of developers of all ages, and there is some inappropriate stuff out there. Mostly blood/violence. I make sure to screen a game before letting my son play. He loves the cake building game where you feed a giant your cake creations and the super hero tycoon. Lots of good stuff for young gamers to play, not just teens!
Parent of a 9 year old written by Jennifer M.

Great article, thank you. My 9 year old daughter watches a youtube channel published by a woman, Seri!Pixel!Biologist! which she really enjoys.

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