YouTube is a global phenomenon. Some of its videos are watched by millions and millions of viewers. YouTube also providers users with a far-reaching outlet where they can share their talents, interests, and expertise.
What are kids watching on YouTube?
It really depends on the kid. Some watch videos of people playing games, cats doing silly tricks, people eating or falling down, and 'unpackaging'. Almost everything imaginable awaits viewers on YouTube. YouTube is entertaining, enlightening, fun, and often empowering.
Ordinary people are becoming YouTube stars overnight, which adds to its appeal . YouTube and YouTube hosts have great influence. For some kids, YouTube offers a sense of community, a place where they can share their talents, their views, and their knowledge with others. It can a positive outlet, and a place that empowers your child to expand their horizons in a positive way, tap into their creativity, grow their self-esteem, and share.
How can I make YouTube safe and enjoyable for my child?
Pull up a chair, and ask to watch with your kids. If your child doesn't want to watch videos together, get the names of the channels and popular videos they are watching to see for yourself. You may be surprised by how fun, informative and entertaining these videos can be. You may not understand the appeal of particular videos, YouTube channels, or YouTube hosts your children enjoy, but checking them out you will have a better idea what they are watching.
Ask questions, such as "why does it feel good watching a particular video" and "what would you change about that video". Doing so will help empower your child to think critically about what they are watching. If you hear something you don't like from a YouTube video that your child is watching, ask about the context in which it is being used and, together, make the decision if the content is right for your child.
Encourage youth to come to you if they don't feel comfortable with content they viewed and talk about why it made them feel uncomfortable.
Your child may also see negative comments on some of the videos they watch. YouTube videos that are designed by their creator for kids don't allow comments. If there are comments on a video that means it is not meant for youth under the age of 13. Talk with your kids about what, if any, comments they see or receive, and how they can report inappropriate comments. Adults should be mindful of the videos they upload of youth to YouTube and who may be watching. Talk with your kid about the comments they see, how they make them feel, and, if the comment is directed at them, what they can do. Help them process what they see and let them know that someone else's opinion or comment shouldn't stop them from enjoying what they like and what they like doing.