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Dad's YouTube Channel Advises How To Change A Flat, Other Life Skills

NOEL KING, HOST:

This Father's Day will be a special one for Rob Kenney.

ROB KENNEY: So I call my YouTube subscribers my kids.

KING: The 56-year-old has two grown, real kids, but thanks to his new channel called Dad, How Do I?, he now has more than 2 million Internet kids. His videos are a combination of dad jokes and dad-vice.

(SOUNDBITE OF YOUTUBE VIDEO, "HOW TO TIE A TIE.")

KENNEY: OK. So today, I'm going to show you how to tie a tie.

My first video was how to tie a tie, and there's not much of a commitment with that, so it's fairly easy just to throw my hat in the ring with it.

(SOUNDBITE OF YOUTUBE VIDEO, "HOW TO TIE A TIE.")

KENNEY: If you have it up here, that's dorky. If you're not big and you got a short tie, dorky - just telling you.

I've done how-to's for the bathroom to show you how to unclog a sink and how to fix a running toilet. I've done some car videos, too, with how to jump-start a car. It's everything. You know, I want to do how to polish your shoes. I want to do how to shake hands, you know, and look somebody in the eye. And there's obviously so much more to being a dad than just running around fixing things. I walk alongside them and spend time with them and encourage them and share my wisdom that I've learned through hard knocks.

KING: Kenney's YouTube channel isn't just a place for advice. It's also a place for kindness, where those more than 2 million people offer mutual support and guidance.

KENNEY: You know, I thought it was a how-to channel, but it's turned into much more than that. People were telling me they're crying just watching me tie a tie because maybe they've lost their dad or their relationship with their dad is not so good. I think people are longing for a connection right now.

KING: Kenney was raised mostly by his older brother. He says he wasn't that close to his own dad. These new virtual connections mean a lot to him.

KENNEY: I did a video where I said I'm proud of you. The comments are overwhelming because a lot of people have never heard their parents say that to them. I can't even fathom that. There's a limit to what I can do as an Internet Dad, you know, but I love how they have rallied around each other.

(SOUNDBITE OF YOUTUBE VIDEO, "I AM PROUD OF YOU!")

KENNEY: I love you. I'm proud of you. God bless you.

KING: That's Rob Kenney. His YouTube channel is called Dad, How Do I? Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.