SEARCH

Entries in YouTube (11)

Wednesday
Aug082012

13-Year-Old Cancer Patient Wins, Breaks Hearts

Talia Joy Castellano/YouTube(NEW YORK) -- A 13-year-old cancer patient is captivating hundreds of thousands with video blogs that are as inspiring as they are heartbreaking.

Talia Joy Castellano has been battling cancer since 2007 and her YouTube page contains over 150 uploads, comprised largely of the makeup tutorials that are her passion, as well as videos for cancer-related causes. Yet her most recent video blog, is drawing attention for its heartbreaking frankness and a maturity well beyond her years.

“I have two cancers in my body at once,” Talia says.  “Well preleukemia which is a start of leukemia in my bone marrow. There are not really any treatments for it.  It is very rare to have neuroblastoma and leukemia at the same time.”

Neuroblastoma, a cancer usually originating in the adrenal glands and developing from nerve tissue is the most common type of cancer in infants, but can also rarely occur in older children.  Leukemia is a cancer of the blood or bone marrow and causes almost one-third of all cancer deaths in children and adolescents younger than 15 years.

“Basically there aren’t a lot options for treatment anymore,” Talia tells her viewers in the video.  “The docs gave me to option of doing treatment or don’t do the treatment and just live life for the time remaining.  Having cancer has been an amazing yet horrible journey,  yet every journey has an end.”

Talia says that according to doctors without treatment she has a couple months to up to a year left to live. She is considering a bone marrow transplant though the procedure would be very tough on her body because of the multiple previous surgeries she has endured.

“I’m going to decide on whether or not I want to do the bone marrow transplant, or whether or not I just don’t do it and live the time I have remaining,” said Talia. "This isn’t fair to me anymore, I’m only 13. I shouldn’t have to be doing this.”

Viewers have flooded the video’s comments section with words of praise and encouragement.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul242012

YouTube Videos May Help Some Beat Vertigo

LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images(ANN ARBOR, Mich.) -- YouTube, the popular video-sharing website, offers us all sorts of important tips, tricks and tidbits. Now, a new study suggests that it may be a trustworthy source if your query happens to be "How to treat your vertigo."

Researchers at the University of Michigan studied how YouTube users searched for solutions to a condition known as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).  It is a condition that affects more than six million people in the United States every year and is responsible for up to 40 percent of doctor visits related to dizziness.

Authors searched the YouTube website and found more than 3,000 videos related to dizziness, accounting for three million hits.  Thirty-three of those videos demonstrated "How to do the Epley Maneuver" -- a repositioning procedure used to treat dizziness caused by BPPV.

Sixty-four percent of videos accurately depicted the maneuver.  The video with the most hits was produced by the American Academy of Neurology, a leading professional organization for neurologists.

The disabling sensations of spinning or vertigo associated with BPPV can be blamed on calcium crystals that develop in the inner ear, an area that contains the organs we rely on for our sense of balance and equilibrium.  Sometimes these crystals can get stuck in the wrong position within these organs, leading to the dizziness, nausea, balance problems and hearing loss that vertigo sufferers associate with their condition.

The good news is that 90 percent of the time, BPPV can be cured within minutes using the Epley maneuver -- a technique available since the 1980s that is used to dislodge the calcium particles.

It is a technique that Dr. Kevin Kerber, a neuro-otologist at the University of Michigan and lead author of the study, says is often effective but which "hasn't been disseminated properly and is not being implemented."  That, he says, is why the videos on YouTube captured his interest.

"YouTube seemed like such an amazing tool to disseminate information" he says, adding that videos contain the added bonus of viewer commentary that provides additional information about how videos might be helping, or hindering treatment.

"Patients have reported they are cured of their symptoms, which is very impressive," Kerber says.  "To be able to go to the computer and do treatments, well, that would be awesome.  No frustrating calls for appointments, no expensive referrals to a specialist -- it's kind of the perfect intervention. ..."

Moreover, Kerber says, the videos may obviate the need for the sedating medication Antivert in many cases.  As he notes, "you don't want a sedated dizzy person walking around out there when they can be cured."

Still, doctors warn, the videos can only go so far -- and in many cases, they are no substitute for seeing a doctor in person.

"People looking for information on the Internet are not experts and do not have a way to know which are valid videos and which are not," says Dr. Helen S. Cohen, professor of otolaryngology at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas.  "To treat any health condition properly, and in a cost-effective manner, the condition must be diagnosed correctly. ... [BPPV] can mask or be caused by other problems that affect the inner ear."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
May132012

Mother's Inspiring Video About Blind Baby Son

(WOODBURY, Tenn.) -- Lacey Buchanan never dreamed that a Youtube video she created about her blind baby boy and his rare cleft palate condition would spread virally, racking up some 7 million views and delivering hundreds of personal messages of support to her Facebook and email inboxes.

In the seven-minute video, which she made using her iPhone, the 25-year-old mother from Woodbury, Tenn., describes the triumph of witnessing 14-month-old Christian's giggles in the face of the constant stares and whispers they encounter in public when strangers see her baby.

He was born with an an extremely rare condition called Tessier cleft, which means that he was unable to fully close his mouth, and that his eyes are also clefted such that they never even formed.

Buchanan, who works at a day care center and also attends the Nashville School of Law, said she made the video about their struggle because she wanted her son "to grow up knowing he's important, knowing he has value, despite the way that he looks," Buchanan said.

"I never thought it would be as big as it has gotten, but I'm thrilled that Christian is becoming a face and a voice for this, that beauty is so much deeper than what you look like," she said.

Her own video was inspiredby a film made by a woman named Lizzie, who tells the story of how her disfigured face, caused by a rare, unnamed medical condition, led classmates to call her "the world's ugliest woman."

While Christian's internal organs were completely normal, he was born without eyes, and underwent surgery on his cleft palate when he was just four days old, spending four weeks recovering in the neonatal intensive care unit at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. It took the hospital two months just to give his rare condition a name, Buchanan said, and the couple discovered that only about 50 other people in the world had the same diagnosis of Tessier cleft.

Buchanan and her husband had no idea how to care for a blind baby -- and in particular, they weren't prepared for how people would stare at him.

"The first time I went to the grocery store, I didn't expect to leave crying because people were whispering behind my back," she said. "It was something I had to try to get used to."

Despite the negative attention, the Buchanans received ample support from friends and family, and from their local Baptist church, which has held multiple fundraisers for Christian's medical care and constantly checks in with the couple to inquire how their son is doing.

Since posting the video two months ago, it has since generated nearly 7 million views and 1.8 million Facebook "likes" after an inspired fan reposted it on the Christian video site GodVine.

Because of the attention, Buchanan has connected with three other people who have Tessier cleft -- two adults and the parent of another -- and she said the support has been lifechanging.

"I try to make the best decisions I can for Christian, especially medically, and sometimes I'm put into corners, where whichever decision I make is going to impact Christian's life," she said. "Being able to reach out to someone who has lived there [with his condition], it takes a huge burden off me."

Since making the video, she's also created a Facebook page for Christian, and receives so many messages of support that she now turns off her iPhone notifications at night so she's able to sleep.

Buchanan knows Christian faces a much more difficult road ahead of him than a baby born without his condition, but she's thrilled her video has inspired so many people.

"When Christian's old enough, let's ask him if he's glad I let him live," she said. "His laugh is so valuable, at 14 months old, and is making more of a difference than most people ever do."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr272012

After YouTube Plea, Dying Mom Clears Hurdles to Start Trial Drug

John Foxx/Stockbyte/Thinkstock(TAMPA BAY, Fla.) -- A mother dying of breast cancer and desperate to get a drug that has yet to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration appears to have cleared her final hurdle and expects to get her first dose on Friday.

Darlene Gant, 46, of Tampa Bay, Fla., had posted a video plea on YouTube in a campaign to get access to the trial drug, known as pertuzumab, under compassionate use.

The FDA is expected to approve pertuzumab, developed by Genentech, on June 8.  But Gant doesn't expect to live that long.

"In the meantime, no one is eligible for compassionate use, including me, so, although I don't put everything into pertuzumab, it could stabilize me and help save my life and extend my time here on the earth with my 11-year-old son and my family," Gant said in the video.

Gant had won over the FDA and Genentech -- but still faced obstacles involving the Moffitt Cancer Center's Institutional Review Board.

But now, Moffitt's IRB has decided to allow her to start treatment on Friday at cancer center in Tampa, Fla.

The first step will be a large "loading dose" and Gant will be monitored closely in the days ahead for reactions such as rash, breathing difficulties and potential heart issues, she said.  The drug also poses a danger to her liver.

But the potential side effects pale in comparison to Gant's prognosis without the drug.

In the self-made video, Gant lay in her bed, too weak to sit up.  She held a letter to her son.  Beside her were several others: a letter for her son's 12th birthday, two more for his high school and college graduations, another for his wedding day.  Gant was writing the letters because she didn't believe she'd be around for the milestones.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr092012

Is YouTube Helping 'Choking Game' Resurge Among Teens?

LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Called the choking game, the pass-out game or even California knockout, it has resurged among kids and young teens who see it on online video-sharing sites.

The choking game, in which a person uses auto-asphyxiation to pass out just for the rush of it, is not new. It's been around for years. But now kids are getting their friends to film them doing it and posting the videos on YouTube, which has breathed new life into this dangerous fad.

"I think the word 'game' sort of messed everybody up. They think it's just fun, like nothing's going to happen," said Simon Greiner, a sixth-grade student from Santa Monica, Calif., who recently attended an awareness meeting run by the advocacy group Erik's Cause: Help Stop The Choking Game.

Peer pressure to try the choking game can now come from a stranger on the Internet, and curious kids can look up a variety of ways to constrict oxygen to the brain, get a quick buzz and prove to their friends that they can take on the "challenge." But several kids accidentally kill themselves in the process.

Judy Rogg launched Erik's Cause after her son Erik died two years ago from the deadly game.

"A lot of kids make it look fun," Rogg said. "They're laughing. They don't realize the kid's on the floor twitching because he's having a seizure."

"A lot of kids say, 'Well, at least we're not doing drugs,'" Rogg continued. "They think it's an alternative, and they don't understand that they're killing brain cells."

Erik was 12 years old, a Boy Scout who had just earned his Marksmanship badge, when his mother found him dead after school one day.

"He took his Boy Scout rope and made very, very intricate slipknots," basically hanging himself, Rogg said. Before her son's death she said she had never heard of the "choking game."

"The police, they said, 'This was not a suicide, this was the choking game," and we looked at them and said, 'What are you talking about?" she said.

Dr. Thomas Andrew, the chief medical examiner for the state of New Hampshire, said data indicated that between 7 to 15 percent of all kids had tried some form of the choking game -- in other words, thousands of kids. Whether the method involved pressure on the neck or hyperventilation, he warned any attempt was dangerous.

"Seizures, brain damage, chronic headaches and close-head injury or death," Andrew said of the risks.

He added that the choking game should be on the radar screen of every youth mentor, scout leader, teacher, counselor and parent, because it is far from harmless fun.

Derek Gall, a high school sophomore from Randolph, Neb., said he learned the dangers of the "pass out game" the hard way when he tried it at school one day.

"I just got curious and looked up several different ways to do it. I found what seemed like the safest one to do," he said.

Gall found a video on YouTube that claimed to show a "safe" way to "pass out." The boy in the video said, "So what I'm about to show you is completely safe, don't listen to other people." He then proceeded to hyperventilate -- all caught on his webcam -- before crashing to the floor and hitting his head on furniture.

Curious to see if it would work on himself, Gall tried the same thing at school the next day. He passed out, collapsed and smashed his head on the hard concrete floor, fracturing part of the right side of his skull.

"All I remember is standing there and then being in the nurse's office," Gall said.

"I was terrified," said his mother, Jean Gall. "If that fracture had been any deeper, he would have paralyzed his facial nerve."

Gall had to be airlifted to a regional trauma center and only later did his parents learn from hospital staff that his concussion was likely a result of the choking game. Even Gall's little sister, 12-year-old Maggie, admitted it was a popular game among some of her peers. "If they like the buzz it gives them, then they do it again and again," she said.

The Galls believe they were lucky, because their son survived. At worst, his injuries will cost him the upcoming football season. Wanting to warn other kids, Derek said, "Even if you're curious to do it, don't do it."

Maggie Gall said she partially blamed YouTube for the spread of the game. "If kids are doing stuff on the Internet that is teaching other kids to do really bad things to themselves, then YouTube should take off those videos and not allow them on anymore....It's not OK."

YouTube users upload 60 hours of video every minute, and the website counts on users to flag videos that break the site's rules. In a statement to Nightline, a spokesman for YouTube said, "The safety of our users is important to us, and as such YouTube's Community Guidelines prohibit videos intended to encourage dangerous activities that risk serious physical harm. We routinely remove material according to these guidelines, and we encourage users to flag video for our attention so that we may continue to do so." YouTube removed several links provided to them by Nightline.

"[YouTube is] making access to an incredibly dangerous practice," said advocate Judy Rogg.

No reliable national data exist as to just how many kids have lost their lives to the choking game. Rogg said statistics are scanty, in part because there is no education about the practice and there is no death code for when kids accidentally kill themselves this way.

"They're often misclassified as suicides," she said.

Since the death of her son, Rogg has channeled her grief into action and developed a school curriculum on the choking game to spread word of its dangers to kids, parents and educators.

"It's such a silent epidemic," she said.

Rogg is currently working with schools in Southern California and hopes school districts throughout the country will start addressing the choking game, openly. Despite a number of deaths, Rogg said she is sometimes met with resistance.

"This is a very provocative topic that people are terrified to talk about," Rogg said. "It has the same stigma that trying to get drug and alcohol education into the schools had many years ago. When I went to school, they didn't teach about drugs and alcohol. And it was, 'If I tell them, they might try it.'"

Rogg said parents are fooling themselves if they think their kid doesn't know about the choking game, or won't come across other kids who do. "Even smart, strong kids make dumb choices with deadly consequences," she said.

While her son is gone, Rogg has made it her mission to make sure this deadly game won't kill someone else.

"He was on top of the world. He felt invincible. He had no clue what he was doing. He really had no clue," she said. "It kills me."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb232012

Teen YouTube Videos Shed Light on Self-Esteem Issues

Naomi Gibson(NEW YORK) -- Naomi Gibson, who lives just outside Denver, always makes a point to tell her 13-year-old daughter, Faye, that she's beautiful. So when she started getting calls from media asking to interview Faye about a video she had posted, she couldn't believe her ears.

"I was floored," Gibson said.

The video was called "Am I Pretty or Ugly?" and asked anyone who watched the YouTube video to comment on her attractiveness.

Faye says that she has long been a victim of bullying. A day does not pass when someone at school does not call her ugly, she said. "I get called a lot of names, get talked about behind my back," she said.

The psyche of a teenage girl is understandably muddled. Faye said she goes to the Web to get opinions from those who don't know her.

"Deep down inside, all girls know that other people's opinions don't matter, but we still go to other people for help because we don't believe what people say," she told ABC News.

What she received were mixed reactions. Though some comments were innocuous enough, others spewed hateful messages toward the young teenager.

One read, "FAYE! Stop asking for this attention. It makes you look so pathetic and dumb."

"It hurt me to see those comments about my daughter," Gibson said.

Faye's case is not unique. Similar videos have been posted in recent months, all asking often-unknown users to comment on whether or not a teen is ugly. Some have accrued thousands of hits, with one video, posted by user sgal01, getting 3,622,844 views. Comments are mixed, with some Good Samaritans imploring the teens to know their self-worth, as more disparaging commentors hurled insults, some even taking a sexual, predatory tone.

But while posting videos like this may be a recent phenomenon, experts say that teens' desire for approval is nothing new.

Dr. Joshua Klapow, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, says that teens have always had a fervent desire to be accepted.

"This is just an extreme version of something that's very normal," Klapow said, adding, "Another piece that's normal is impulsivity. Give them a medium that is so easily accessible and so potent, you get the problem we're seeing."

Dr. Alan Kazdin, Ph.D., a professor of psychology and child psychiatry at Yale, agrees. "There's a part of it that's unfortunate, but there's a part of it that's natural. Technology has made it so that it's not new in principle but new in practice," he said.

Older generations may have used slambooks to share their feelings about peers but, for this technology-inundated generation, the Internet is teenagers' open forum, providing them the comfort and ease to open themselves up to the enormous and often-anonymous cyber-universe.

"The question is not, why would [teenagers] take their problems to the Web? The question is, why wouldn't you take it to the Web?" said Kazdin.

Experts say that part of the appeal of asking viewers open questions comes from the immediate reward the teens get. Rather than sitting down and having a conversation, teenagers can post something on the Internet and immediately experience the thrill associated with seeing a response, whether positive or negative.

But the negative comments can have deleterious effects.

"They have no safe place now," Kazdin said. "As long as they're electronically connected, they become vulnerable."

Gibson had already instituted rules to try and protect her daughter, requiring Faye to tell her when she posted a video so she could screen it. Initially, Faye had been using YouTube to showcase her singing and dancing talents as a way to detract from the bullying that she has been a victim of since she was 11. Now, Gibson says that the privilege may soon be revoked.

"I took away her Facebook and Twitter account because of bullying. She needs to stop putting herself out there. Now people are walking around asking her if she's pretty to her face. It's hurting her more in the long run, I think," Gibson said.

For Faye, the pain of not being accepted is inescapable.

"I feel like I could just go away and never come back…I feel like I've been standing all these years and keep getting torn down," Faye said.

Aside from the emotional damage the video has caused, Gibson has a deeper concern, worrying that the video could be fodder for predators. On several such videos, users have posted lewd and sexual comments.

She has appealed directly to YouTube to try and get these videos and comments taken down. In a statement sent to ABC News by a YouTube spokesperson, YouTube reiterated its policy on underage users:

YouTube is for people thirteen years or older only, and we provide information for teens and parents in our Safety Center on staying safe online. Our Community Guidelines prohibit videos or comments containing harassment, threats, or hate speech -- we encourage users to flag material so we can quickly review it and remove anything that breaks the rules. Videos involving children (anyone under the age of 18) are particularly sensitive. Videos containing children should never be sexually suggestive or violent.

Experts insist that effective parenting can help minimize insecurity, although nothing can completely eradicate it.

"Parents have to get serious about monitoring what their teens and tweens are doing. They've got to monitor regularly. They may not prevent [the video] from going up, but they need to catch it as soon as it goes up. They should use these videos as teachable moments. Perhaps ask the kids, 'How would you feel if you saw these comments?'" Klapow said.

Gibson is hoping that Faye's and her experience can help alert parents before their children's insecurities spiral into something dangerous.

"Hopefully it will open up the eyes of the parents," she said. "The kids aren't letting their parents know what's wrong, just like Faye didn't let me know. Hopefully, parents can get more proactive. [Faye's] internet usage is limited even more, I have the computer locked after a certain time. I've taken all the steps that I needed to take, here's another step I need to adjust and move on from."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec282011

Texas Teen Posted Powerful Videos Before Christmas Death

A Texas teenager, Ben Breedlove, who cheated death three times despite a dangerous heart condition died on Christmas night from a heart attack, but not before posting a two-part video on YouTube telling his story and describing a series of powerful visions. (Youtube)(AUSTIN, Texas) -- A Texas teenager who said he cheated death three times despite a dangerous heart condition died Christmas night from a heart attack, but not before posting a two-part video on YouTube telling his story and describing a series of powerful visions.

In the videos that have since gone viral, 18-year-old Ben Breedlove of Austin can be seen silently sitting in a room and using handwritten note cards to tell his story. The teen suffered from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition in which one part of the heart is thicker than the other parts, making it difficult for the heart to pump blood.

He described cheating death three times.

The most recent scare was Dec. 6, when he passed out at school and awoke surrounded by EMS medics preparing to use shock pads to revive him.

He posted a two-part video Dec. 18 titled "This is my story." One week later, on Christmas night, he suffered a heart attack and died. As of Wednesday afternoon, the first video had been viewed online more than 476,000 times.

"It was obvious to all of us that knew him that he knew what he was doing when he made that video," close family-friend Pam Kohler said. "There are times that [the family is] overwhelmed by the pain and the loss of Ben, but then it's replaced with knowing that he was at peace with what was going to happen."

He had two popular YouTube channels, "BreedloveTV" and "OurAdvice4You," on which he would talk about his own life as well as dishing out relationship advice for his peers. Facebook and YouTube have been inundated with tributes to Breedlove.

"When you think of Ben, you can't help but smile," Kohler said. "He was curious, creative. You never knew what he was up to. He was always full of surprises. We look on all of it as a gift from God through Ben."

Kohler and her husband, Mark Kohler, were driving to the Breedlove home Christmas when they first realized something might be wrong.

"We were going over to share Christmas dinner with them that night and on our way over there, a police car passed us with sirens on," Kohler said. "My husband said, 'Start praying because it could be Ben.'"

When they arrived at the house, they saw ambulances and fire trucks. Breedlove had had a heart attack and medics were trying to revive him. He made it to the hospital, but died there.

At this point, Kohler said the family did not know about Breedlove's last videos. He had shared his visions with his sister, but no one had seen the videos.

He said in the video, through note cards, that the first time he cheated death was when he was 4 and described an experience he had in the hospital as he was being wheeled on a stretcher.

"There was this big bright light above me ... I couldn't make out what is was because it was so bright. I told my mom, 'Look at the bright light' and pointed up. She said she didn't see anything," Breedlove wrote. "There were no lights on in this hall. I couldn't take my eyes off it. And I couldn't help but smile. I had no worries at all, like nothing else in the world mattered."

As Breedlove held up each card telling the story, he alternated serious looks with broad smiles. "I cannot even begin to describe the peace, how peaceful it was," he wrote. "I will NEVER forget that feeling or that day."

"Because of the experiences he'd had, he was ready and he was prepared. He really wanted to know that peace again. He was facing more hospital stays and he was tired of it," Kohler said. "He wanted [his family] to know that he wasn't scared and was looking forward to returning to that place."

In the videos, Breedlove went through the details of his journey.

He underwent surgery May 3, 2009, to insert a pacemaker and the second time Breedlove cheated death, he said, was in the summer of 2011. He went to the hospital for tonsil surgery and ended up going into cardiac arrest.

"It was a miracle that they brought me back," Breedlove wrote. "I was scared to die, but am SO glad I didn't."

His third brush with death was the one earlier this month. "I really thought to myself, this is it. I'm dying," Breedlove wrote.

He recalled a dream or vision where he was in a silent, white room with no walls and he felt "that same peaceful feeling I had when I was 4."

"I was wearing a really nice suit and, so was my fav rapper, Kid Cudi," Breedlove wrote.

He said he thought to himself, "Damn, we look good."

"I then looked at myself in the mirror, I was proud of MYSELF, of my entire life, everything I have done," Breedlove wrote. "It was the BEST feeling."

He said he thought of lyrics from a Kid Cudi song that said, "When will the fantasy end, when will the heaven begin?" Kid Cudi sat him down at a glass desk and told him, "Go now."

"I didn't want to leave that place," Breedlove wrote. "I wish I NEVER woke up."

Kid Cudi responded to the videos on his website, writing that he "broke down" when he saw the video.

"This has really touched my heart in a way I can't describe, this is why I do what I do. Why I write my life, and why I love you all so much," Kid Cudi wrote. "We love you Ben. Forever. Thank you for loving me."

Cudi added, "To Ben's family, you raised a real hero, he's definitely mine. You have my love."

Breedlove's funeral is scheduled to take place Thursday afternoon in Austin.

"The one thing he wanted was for everyone to feel joy for him because he knew where he would be and where he wanted to be," Kohler said. "The tears come and they're followed by a smile."

Kohler said Breedlove would be thrilled that his video and story have already touched so many. She said he would have "wanted his generation to know the love of God and the peace he was feeling."

"Do you believe in angels or God?" Breedlove asked on a card at the end of the video. The last card read simply, "I do."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Sep102011

From Age 2 to 7: Why Are Children Smoking in Indonesia?

Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Thinkstock(JAKARTA, Indonesia) -- He is a thoroughly modern icon: the cherubic toddler now known around the world as the "smoking baby." More than 13 million people have watched a YouTube clip of the 2 year old puffing hungrily on cigarette after cigarette, twirling them in his hands. But while many viewed this video with amusement and perhaps some shock, it appears this "smoking baby" is just the tip of the iceberg.

Indonesia, the fourth most populous country in the world, appears to be in the throes of an uncontrolled tobacco habit. It is a place where domestic and international tobacco companies are able to operate in ways they haven't been able to in the U.S. for 41 years.

This is a country where, as soon as a visitor steps off the plane, he is bombarded with cigarette ads on billboards and logos, and where, as 2020 found out, there is more than one "smoking baby."

In a tiny fishing village in Eastern Java, lives an adorable 2-year-old boy named Chairul. Soon after awaking from a nap, he lights up with the help of his grandfather. The grandfather says he allows Chairul to smoke because it tastes good, "like bread with chocolate."

As Chairul smokes beside him, his grandfather said he doesn't think it is a problem.

"He sometimes smokes two packs a day," he said, though it appears Chairul does not inhale. Yet he puffs away, exposed to the smoke around him. When warned about the health effects of cigarettes, Chairul's grandfather said, "If the boy doesn't smoke, he doesn't feel good." It's all right, he said, "as long as he drinks enough coffee with his cigarettes."

As strange as that may seem, Chairul is no fluke. In a town a few hours to the south, 20/20 found a seven-year-old boy who also smoked while his family looked on.

His name is Maulana, and his mother said he has been smoking since he was 2, but she hopes he quits when he goes to school this year.

As to why she allows her son to smoke, Malauna's mother said, "I can't just stop him abruptly, because he gets weak and cries. It has to be done slowly."

It is estimated that about a million children in Indonesia under the age of 16 smoke, and that one third of Indonesian children try smoking before the age of 10. In Indonesia, it is perfectly legal for a child of any age to buy and smoke cigarettes, despite the hundreds of international studies showing tobacco is addictive and harmful.

The World Health Organization says tobacco kills more than five million people annually.

In the U.S., tobacco companies haven't been allowed to advertise on TV in 41 years. So, unable to market freely at home, big tobacco has increasingly turned overseas, where they are using the very tactics to reach young people that have long been banned in America.

Indonesia's Minister of Health, Dr. Endang Sedyaningsih, who studied at Harvard University, said more than 400,000 people die in Indonesia every year of tobacco-related causes. But she said she can't push too hard for change, for fear her efforts will backfire if she does.

But living in this environment, where cigarette companies have such free rein to transmit their message, quitting for the children of Indonesia may be easier said than done.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun222011

Girl, 5, Becomes Makeup Guru: How Young Is Too Young?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Madison Hohrine of Hurst, Texas, is an expert at applying lipstick, applying blush to the contours of her cheeks and applying mascara to her eyes. She is such an expert, in fact, that millions of people are logging online every day to watch and learn from one of Madison's makeup tutorials.

What they see when one of Madison's videos pops up may surprise them. Madison is just 5, but despite her youth, Madison is a makeup-applying Internet sensation.

Her tutorials on the video-sharing site YouTube, in which she covers everything from her favorite lipsticks, to what beauty products to buy, to how to bring out the colors in your eyes with shadow, have generated over 1.2 million clicks. Her video tutorial on the intricacies of makeup brushes alone was viewed more than 700,000 times.

Madison became fascinated by makeup as so many little girls do, by watching her mom.

"I started watching the YouTube videos and she would watch them with me," Madison's mother, Mary Hohrine, told ABC’s Good Morning America. "And one day she just asked me if she could record herself just to see what she would look like doing the video."

A few brushes of blush and rehearsals in front of the camera later, and Madison was hooked.

Popping up more and more frequently next to Madison's videos on YouTube are those of other young girls, ages 3 to 11, who, like Madison, are just as well-versed in mascara as they are the fairytales and alphabet letters more familiar to childhood.

That young girls are both using grown-up cosmetics and airing their makeup tips online has some parenting experts raising their eyebrows.

"It's weird for a little girl to know about contouring and makeup and angles," Dr. Logan Levkoff, author of the book Third Base Ain't What it Used to Be, said to GMA.

"We have a society where we sexualize little girls, almost from birth on," she said.

In an age where celebrities, makeover shows and beauty pageants are all the rage, the trend is putting back in focus the question of whether little girls and makeup is too cute, or too much too soon. Experts such as Levkofk believe the young girls offering makeup tips online, and the public's fascination with them, are the result of today's pressure-filled, beauty-obsessed society.

"The fact is all these Toddlers & Tiaras shows, the products, whether it's push-up bras for tween girls or shapeups for girls to firm their butts, all of this sends the message that our girls aren't good enough," said the New York City-based psychologist.

"It's the message that our girls aren't valued."

But that is a message Mary Hohrine feels confident her daughter is not receiving.

"She is a normal 5-year-old," said Mary. "It's the same thing as if she's playing dress-up."

Mary says that does not mean she is not aware of the dangers of letting her daughter grow up too fast and so enforces strict rules when it comes to allowing Madison free reign with the blush, eye shadow and lipstick she flaunts online.

Though makeup made her famous, Madison is not allowed to use products or wear any makeup on a daily basis.

"When she asks to be putting makeup on every day, then I'll be getting worried," said Mary.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun102011

TMI? Women Head to YouTube to Share Pregancy Test Results

Jeffrey Hamilton/Lifesize/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Every woman remembers the moment she discovers she's pregnant.

That magical moment, once very private, has now become very public as thousands of moms-to-be are taking to YouTube to announce their good news.

In some cases, women are sharing the news with total strangers all across cyberspace before they tell their own husbands or partners.

Lucy Eades from Forth Worth, Texas, posted news her second child was on the way on YouTube in 2008.  More than 128,000 people have watched.

That child, Kacen, is now 2 years old and Eades, 28, is pregnant again.  She's due in three weeks with her third child, and more than 14,000 people watched as she found out that good news.

But not every video has a happy ending.  One woman who revealed a disappointing negative result online did so as a way of sharing her frustrating fertility issues with other women who understand what she's going through.

"They want to be heard and they want be understood, and they want to have other people who are in their like situation really say, 'you're not crazy and I understand the emotional power of waiting for this baby,'" psychologist Lynne Kenney told ABC News.

But Kenney, who practices pediatric psychology in Scottsdale, Arizona, warned that celebrating too soon -- and with thousands of people watching -- could be emotionally devastating.

An estimated 80 percent of miscarriages occur in the first three months of pregnancy, according to the Mayo Clinic.  That's why many women who are still in their first trimester of pregnancy only share the news with close family and friends.

"You want to think about protecting your heart and your privacy a little bit, as you're sharing this early information with the world," Kenney cautioned.

Other women have even taken viewers beyond the initial good news, documenting their entire pregnancy, from the first ultrasound to the actual birth.

Eades has 1.7 million people following the progress of her baby on the way. She has asked followers to enter a contest to guess the gender, weight, and birth date, and she posts her pregnancy issues on Twitter and Facebook.

Eades plans to even video log, or vlog, the actual birth of her third child, whom she plans to deliver at home.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio