Jojo Sim’s YouTube channel, currently trending among the platform’s most popular offerings, feels like a “greatest hits template” for building internet fame. Pranks? Check. Occasional unboxings? Check. More pranks, sometimes verging on nasty? Check. A cast of other regular influencers with their own channels all living (apparently) in the same house? Check and check again.
Jojo has kept family and personal data out of the mix here. But we do know that he was born in 1999 (making him 21 at the time of this writing). In some videos, though, there are discussions about homework with his buddies that make it seem as if they could still be in high school. And there’s definitely a late adolescent zaniness here that will likely appeal to viewers in that age range.
Make no mistake, however: Jojo also appears to be a very successful YouTube influencer: He lives with social-media immersed friends in a mansion with a pool and hot tub and high-dollar supercars out front, and he makes being an internet star look glamorous indeed.
Many, if not most, of the pranks and stunts the Jojo and his friends pull are quite innocent and not far removed from what we might see in, say, a Dude Perfect video. One, for instance, involved building a “bridge” over the guys’ pool that consisted of a single two-by-four plank, then trying (unsuccessfully) to walk across. Cue the splash, laughter and ribbing. And there are plenty more like that.
I had watched several such videos before I came across several more that had deeper issues. Language isn’t a concern in every one, but it does show up in some—including harsh profanities such as the f- and s-words.
Some pranks, if imitated, could potentially be dangerous. Multiple videos, for example, show Jojo pouring a powered chemical into a two-liter bottle of Coke to create gas and minor eruptions. At one point, Jojo says that the chemical mix burned his hands, hinting at more danger here than he’d perhaps let on.
Another video captured Jojo hiding surreptitiously in the closet of one of his friends. The friend brings his girlfriend up to the room and cuddles with her on the bed. She removes her sweater while straddling him—all while Jojo secretly films from the closet. Jojo’s spying is soon discovered, and things don’t progress any further between the guy and girl on the bed. But the video suggests that they were about to go further. And after they kick Jojo out, his friend and girlfriend shut the door and tell him not to come back for a couple of hours. Elsewhere, we also occasionally see young women in revealing outfits.
Jojo and his peers have seemingly been incredibly successful in their YouTube influencer careers. Scenes filmed in and around their house often include images of recording equipment (such as lighting rigs), suggesting that making these videos is their primary pursuit. That’s not problematic on its own. But the overall vibe of these guys’ relationship feels like an extended adolescence that’s full of nonstop fun, expensive toys and constant filming. For an aspiring YouTube influencer, it’s potentially a very compelling portrait of a lifestyle that very few YouTube users ever actually achieve.
As YouTube channels go, Jojo Sim’s splits the difference between totally innocuous and really problematic.
There’s lots here that could generate a laugh and not cause any other problems. But that’s not true of all of this content. Language, suggestively shot videos and potentially dangerous pranks (if imitated) push this channel out of bounds for young tweens and teens—the very audience whom Jojo and his friends seem to be targeting.
Note: Plugged In’s YouTube channel reviews are not exhaustive summaries of everything viewers will find, but a representative sample of recent videos to give you a sense of the kinds of things you might expect to see.
After serving as an associate editor at NavPress’ Discipleship Journal and consulting editor for Current Thoughts and Trends, Adam now oversees the editing and publishing of Plugged In’s reviews as the site’s director. He and his wife, Jennifer, have three children. In their free time, the Holzes enjoy playing games, a variety of musical instruments, swimming and … watching movies.