Think today's kids want to be doctors or lawyers? Nope. YouTube stardom is the No. 1 dream career for young people today, at least according to a widely publicized survey by a British newspaper last spring.
The appeal is obvious: Some 20-somethings are making millions by playing video games or dispensing beauty tips online. But the pressure of having to endlessly produce original content that makes them look accessible, transparent and authentic has proved too much for some people, including Essena O'Neill. The former social media personality went public in her posts about experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety from living an overly curated life.
"The only time I felt better about myself, really, was the more followers, the more likes, the more praise, and the more views I got online," she said in her last video from 2015 before disappearing from social media entirely.
Living professionally online has also been a challenge for 24-year-old Lauren Riihimaki. More than 6 million people follow her YouTube channel, LaurDIY, which covers topics ranging from home decorating to her adoption of an adorable little dog.
"You can never just kind of turn it off and be like, 'OK, today I don't want to be me,' because that's your business," she said during an NPR interview earlier this summer at VidCon in Anaheim, Calif.