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How much could you earn by eating jelly beans and playing video games? Look at this year’s YouTube rich list and you might be surprised.British YouTuber Dan Middleton raked in $16.5m (£12.3m) this year, making him YouTube’s highest earner. Known as DanTDM, he’s famous for posting videos of himself playing Minecraft and doing humorous challenges. Dan started his channel while working in Tesco five years ago and has more than 10 billion views on all his videos.He’s part of a growing wave of children’s entertainers spurred by rising internet usage and the shrinking popularity of television amongst young people.His fortune has been made not just from online advertising revenue, but also merchandise and a worldwide stadium tour – including four sold-out shows at the Sydney Opera House.It’s a rise to fame that’s taught him some important lessons as an entrepreneur.”If someone’s making a decision on your behalf, make sure you trust them,” said Dan in an interview with the Victoria Derbyshire programme on BBC Two and the BBC News Channel. He also advised aspiring YouTubers to “make sure you’ve got everything in place so that you’re confident that everything you put out there that has your name attached to it is what you believe in”.
Dan said that, with his growing influence, he feels “loads” of responsibility to his young fans and their parents.”I feel like I’ve got really good rapport with parents,” he said.”They always say I’m a YouTuber they can feel safe just letting their kids watch.”In terms of creative scope, Dan said video ideas “can come from literally anywhere”.One of his most popular is a video of him eating a pack of jelly beans with unusual flavours (including “blood”), given to him by his mother-in-law.”If I struggle for ideas, I go online, my fans can ask me questions, there’s so much that can help me.””The beauty of the internet is pretty much unlimited,” he added.But Dan says he is mindful of the dangers young people face on the internet.”You do have to be careful about what you put out there, regardless of whether you’re a YouTuber or not,” he said. “If you put something online, it’s essentially there forever. You don’t know who’s kept it, who’s screenshotted it.””With anything that’s popular, be it YouTube or just the internet in general, there are people who are going to use it for the wrong reasons,” he said.”The key thing is just to keep an eye on what your kids are doing online. Let them have their own devices, but don’t leave them to their own devices.”