How to Make Your Kid a YouTube Star

America is the country where any child can grow up to be President. But the odds are a whole lot better that a kid can become a star - thanks to the Internet and pushy parents like CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman who got his son a featured role in Assignment America.

For some strange reason, while most toddlers were focused on Santa this holiday season, my 2-year-old son George was obsessed with the song "Good King Wenceslas."

After hearing the song a couple dozen times at most - George not only had it memorized -- but insisted on singing it constantly - all 5 verses.

(Scroll down to watch George Hartman's YouTube Videos)

A few weeks ago I posted the clip on YouTubeand mass-emailed the link -- hoping it would go viral. Then I thought, wait a second, what does that make me?

Cooper Lawrence, author of "The Cult of Celebrity,"says I'm a stage dad now - validating my child by getting him famous.

She says thousands of parents who would never dream of taking their toddlers to a commercial audition or baby pageant have no problem putting their children on the YouTube stage.

"You know, you liking the video is not enough," Cooper asked me.

"Right," I replied.

"And him entertaining you is not enough?"

"Right."

"The fact that you need a bunch of strangers to agree…"

"Do you know a good counselor?"

"You're going to need one," Cooper said.

First, though, I wanted a second opinion.

I flew to Orlando to meet David DeVore - knowing if anyone could justify my exploits - it would be him.

A couple years ago David shot a video of his son, David Jr., right after dental surgery. That clip has since been viewed by millions.



"That 75 million views, you're proud of that right," I asked.

"It's actually 76 million now," DeVore replied.

"I guess that answers that question."

David says he didn't post his video hoping it would go viral but he understands completely why some parents are now. First there are the comments.

"It never gets old seeing 'oh, this is the coolest kid,'" DeVore said.

Secondly, there are the T-shirts. He's sold about 20,000 so far. Combined with ads, endorsement deals and international public appearances - and you've got a roughly $100,000 a year enterprise.

Unfortunately, in my case, it's a moot point. Whereas David's video is now up 77 million views, mine is holding steady at around 500.

What's the problem? Well, when I asked David Sr. what he thought of it, he said he liked it in a way that I knew that he didn't.

"It's too long," DeVore said. "You could get the same idea across shorter, I think."

Apparently, a 2-year-old singing Christmas carols in old English is only spell-binding for about 12 seconds - and after 3 minutes of it - people tend to tune out.

The lesson - if you're looking for validation that you're kid is cute and wonderful -- you're not likely to find it by posting Christmas carols - which is why I'm moving on - to Moon River.



  • Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.

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