By Heather Zubek

Like many 11-year-olds, Grace Mulgrew loves to make up stories about her Barbie dolls. But not every young girl has their stories attract more than 600 million views on YouTube.

With more than 700,000 subscribers, Grace’s World was so successful that her father gave up his job to help with the filming.

It all began when Grace was just six. “I loved watching other Barbie videos on YouTube and thought it might be cool to make my own,” she tells Crinkling News.

Grace Mulgrew, aged 11, films one of her popular YouTube videos in her Melbourne home. Photo: supplied

Grace Mulgrew, aged 11, films one of her popular YouTube videos in her Melbourne home. Photo: supplied

All in the family

“I asked dad to film me playing with my dolls’ house and then asked him to upload it to YouTube.”

Nine months later the video had received more than nine million views.

Grace’s World is the story of her Barbie dolls: Ken, Barbie and their twins Annabelle and Isabelle. “It takes nearly a week to make each episode,” she says.

“There’s a lot to do! I have to write the story, read it into a microphone, arrange scenes, film the dolls, and then there’s a whole lot of editing which dad helps with.”

Professional help

Grace has visited the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Melbourne to speak about making her videos.

“Kids begin interacting with YouTube from a very early age,” says Arieh Offman, from ACMI, which teaches children how to create videos safely and creatively.

“They see thousands of moving images every year and it is important for them to understand what they are seeing.”

Mr Offman believes that learning how to make videos for YouTube can help a child become more confident, make new friends and gain skills useful in later life.

Privacy important

“Any video being uploaded to YouTube must not have anything that shows where the child goes to school or any other personal information,” said Mr Offman.

Dr Laura McFarland, from Charles Sturt University in NSW, says young people sometimes forget about online privacy. “They can be opened up to identity theft and awful people who use the internet.”

She also says that if a child believes their popularity depends on how many “likes” or “views” they get, it could affect how they think about themselves.

Grace always leaves time for her friends and outside activities such a gymnastics, but will continue to create her stories.
“A lot of my subscribers are very good to me,” she says. “They must like my videos and that inspires me to make them.”

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