Just a kid with Aloha
"Kid Raiden" spreads kindness and positivity with the help of social media.
By: Chavonnie Ramos
14 March 2019
Raiden Barrientos, also goes by “KidRaiden808,” lives a normal life just as any other eight-year-old: he’s a second grader at Jefferson Elementary, likes to cosplay and dance. But, he also has an Instagram account with over 3,000 followers.
Barrientos loves to make people smile and can be seen giving out prayer cards to Honolulu police officers and firefighters to thank them for their hard work. He says he looks up to first responders because they help protect the community.
Diana, Barrientos’ mother, says she did not really have a plan when she created his Instagram account.
“We mainly did this all for him to have a voice out there,” she said. “There are many kids out there who do so many good things and they all go unnoticed.”
He has built up a reputation as one of the "kid influencers" of social media. These are individuals who reach modern day celebrity status by establishing a social media presence among the internet and local community.
Many people have found their “voice” through becoming a social media influencers and have even been able to make money off of it. Posts that go viral are one way for social media influencers to get paid, either by getting paid by a manufacturer to become a brand ambassador or by showing a product in a posting on their page.
A seven-year-old has made $22 million just for playing with toys on YouTube. Ryan of "Ryan Toysreview" has 17.3 million followers and 26 billion views since he launched his channel in March 2015. He came out as one of the highest-paid YouTube users, according to Forbes.
Barrientos does not do it for the money, but simply to make others happy.
But how young is too young for these kids to have accounts?
A Common Sense Media census report stated that half of all children have some form of social media by 12-years-old. The report was based on a survey of 1,786 parents in the United States with children from eight to 18, and was conducted in July 26. It showed that 56 percent of children overall had their own social media. Parents reported that the average age for children that sign up was 12.6 years.
Although Barrientos is far away from having 17.3 million followers, local community members have started to notice his presence. When asked about the number of followers Barrientos has accumulated, Diana, who runs her son’s accounts along with his grandmother, says they never really noticed.
“We never really noticed how many followers he’s gained until we have (had) people who come up to us and say ‘I follow your IG and I think it’s so great that there are still good people out there,’ so it’s pretty cool how he gets noticed and he also gets excited too because people knows he’s a good kid doing good things,” she said.
Hawaiʻi has its share of local and viral social media stars, most notably through “808 Viral.”
808Viral is a media channel that showcases local media creators to help build their presence online, most notably through their Instagram and Facebook accounts. Barrientos was part of 808Viral since he was four.
With the help of his mother and grandma, Barrientos can be seen doing random acts of kindness throughout the community. Some highlights include giving shop owners mini gifts on Valentine’s Day and volunteering at community events.
His random acts of kindness have been recognized by the Honolulu City Council earlier this year. Kymberly Pine, District 1 councilmember, recognized Barrientos as a “full-time ambassador of Aloha.” Daniela Stolfi-Tow, a Honolulu City Council communication specialist and one of the founders of 808 Viral, also did not want his good deeds to become unnoticed.
“We always look to give focus on people who are great examples for others in the community,” Stolfi-Tow said.
Barrientos actively participates in community issues, such as protecting the environment for future generations. He is part of the "Make Aloha Viral" project, a collaboration between Barientos and Rylee Brooke Kamahele, another local, young social media influencer.
The goal of this project is to spread aloha by doing random acts of kindness throughout the community. Barrientos is also involved in the "Promise to our Keiki" bill that aims to protect the island's endangered species through tourism education.
“To me, aloha doesn't mean hello and goodbye, it means to me, respect, be nice, be respectful, be humble and all sorts of kind things,” Barrientos said.
One of the most heartwarming things Barrientos is known for is giving strangers his "ALOHA" cards that read, "I hope this made your heart smile."
“We’ve always taught him that there are many many people out there who don’t have the little things we can get everyday,” Diana said. “So even with a simple smile and hello he’s given to someone who looks like they are having a bad day, we tell him ‘you may just have made that person’s bad day into a great one,’ so we would ask him how did that make you feel? Good of course.”
Barrientos as Torbjorn from Overwatch.
Barrientos as Bruno Mars.
Barrientos as Hanzo (wolf-version)
Besides giving back to the community, Barrientos enjoys cosplaying and going to conventions such as Comic Con and Kawaii Kon. He cosplays characters from television/movies and video games. Most notably he has cosplayed “Hanzo” and “Torbjorn” from the video game Overwatch.
One of his favorite things about cosplaying is “bringing his favorite character to life.” In the future, he hopes to become a famous cosplayer.
For now, Barrientos still has school and will continue to make his mark on the community by spreading positivity through social media.
“Ever since then he always went one up on everything he did and we were there just to support him when he needed help,” Diana said. “Everything he has done was all him.”
Barrientos won the “Hawaii Spirit Award” for his cosplay of Torbjorn from Overwatch at the Amazing Hawaii Comic Con this past February.