Vlad and Niki’s YouTube page describes these elementary-age Russian-American siblings as a “global preschool phenomenon.” It’s not exaggerating, as we’ll see. These two brothers, sometimes joined by their mother or their younger brother, Chris, laugh, run and play with balloons and ice cream, trucks and LEGOs. The stuff of childhood, all captured on video.
And the world can’t get enough.
In just under three years, their fun, mildly educational videos full of fast-motion sequences, simple animation and old-school laugh tracks have garnered a staggering 42 billion views on the brothers’ main YouTube channel alone. Add in 15 other related channels, and that number swells past 50 billion views.
Parents Sergey and Victoria Vashketov translate the videos into 13 different languages, no doubt facilitating the huge numbers their sons’ channels have racked up in a relatively short amount of time.
Vlad and Niki’s videos are cut out of the same kind of cloth as those from the likes of the Baby Einstein educational franchise or even Barney the Dinosaur. Silly antics will likely keep preschoolers engaged for moms looking for a breather. Gentle lessons about colors, numbers, letters and other typical Sesame Street fodder is engaging and fun for the littlest of viewers.
None, apart from concerns some might have about such young children being viewed by billions of people.
And though the videos are adorable and innocuous, their educational elements are obviously no substitute for real learning engagement with parents and perhaps preschool teachers.
Vlad and Niki certainly look like they’re having a good time as, their channel calls them, “global superstar kidfluencers.” Their parents clearly know exactly what they’re doing in shaping their kids into this role. One can only hope there’s some time for childhood play and laughter off-camera as well.
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.