YouTube is a site that allows people around the world to share, and view. user posted videos. It has also become the number one destination on the Web for video streaming. As a parent, it is crucial that you understand that your child can watch pet bloopers or a friend’s video; however, they can just as easily see a video with content that is violent, sexually charged or anti social. Each video also allows users the opportunity to comment on the video’s content.
It is also important that, as a parent, you realize that while YouTube has a clear use policy and tries to filter out offensive videos, it still relies on the community to flag, or report, offensive material. This type of content filtering is inconsistent by nature. Despite any claims to the contrary, the reality is that YouTube does not rate content. The most popular, or most viewed, videos, are displayed at the top of search result lists.
As per YouTube rules, kids have to be 14 to have a YouTube account, and they have to be adults to access certain content. However, kids can, and do, lie about their ages online. While YouTube can be a wonderful showcase for kids’ creativity, it is important that parents be aware of the downfalls.
Studies show that kids ages 2-11 streamed more video in past two years than the adults in their lives did, and they are definitely watching videos on YouTube as well. As kids have easy access to any manner of content, it is important to keep in mind that you may not even know that your kids have been on YouTube, never mind what your kids have been watching, as the only history traceable will say YouTube.com. The fact that kids can upload a quick video from their cell phones that can get them into trouble if the content of the video is illegal or bullying is another parenting challenge. With that said, there are things you can do to help your kids use YouTube responsibly, and view content that you want them to see.
- Do not assume. Too many parents simply ban YouTube, knowing little or nothing about it. There are some really great things about YouTube. Before having a discussion about video content, check out the site yourself so you will then have the advantage of knowing what you are talking about when you discuss it with your kids.
- Make sure your kids are clear on the rules. Even after you have checked out the site, and decided on rules, do not assume that your kids are clear on them. Check in with your kids to make sure they know exactly what they can and cannot see. In addition, if you feel it is necessary, have a rule in place that they must ask permission before going to YouTube.
- Go over internet safety rules. This has become so important, that these rules are even discussed in many elementary schools. Help your kids know what private information is and what should never be divulged online. It is crucial to help them understand that their videos should never showcase any private information that could lead anyone to them.
- Kid Judgment. Remember that even your straight A, never been in trouble kid’s judgment will only go so far. If you are worried about the content that is being viewed or posted, then you need to monitor it. Do not let yourself fall into the “not my kid” trap.
- Keep your computer in an open space. Your child will have a much harder time viewing content that is inappropriate if they are aware that someone could walk by at anytime.