Is it OK for my kid to start her own YouTube channel?

It may seem foreign to parents, but for kids, video is a fun way to communicate. All the coolest apps -- Snapchat, Instagram, Musical.lyMessenger -- let users share video clips. So even though you may have concerns about the risks of broadcasting on the Web -- and they are legitimate -- your kid may see it as a way of expressing herself, learning digital video skills, sharing with friends, and experimenting creatively. It's important to balance your concerns with the benefits she can reap.

It's a good sign that she asked your permission. With your guidance and support, she can do it safely, and it might be a fun project that may be useful down the road. In fact, more and more kids are using their online channels -- whether it's a Tumblr blog, an Instagram photo collection, or a Snapchat story -- as digital portfolios to showcase their work to employers, colleges, and potential collaborators. YouTube even offers free educational content for creators who are serious about their work.

Your kid's age will determine how to proceed. YouTube is supposed to be for users over the age of 13, due to the fact that the parent company, Google, collects and markets user data. The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) exempts kids from data collection. But, as we all know, plenty of kids have YouTube channels. One of YouTube's biggest and highest-earning users is the child star of EvanTube.

It's not illegal for kids under 13 to create social media profiles on sites that collect user data so long as the parent is aware of the account, knows user data is being collected, and has approved the kid's account. (Learn five ways to keep kids safe on YouTube.)

Choose one of these options if your kid is under 13:

Use a parent's account. If you have Gmail, you have a YouTube log-in. Simply go to YouTube, log in with your Gmail address, and go to the account settings. Pay special attention to the upload defaults (where you can make your videos private) and the comments, which you can approve before they go live or turn off altogether. If you use your account, you'll do all the uploading, but your kid can still have lots of creative control in the design of the channel, the descriptions, and, of course, the videos.

Create a Family Link account. If you have an Android device, you can use Google's Family Link app that lets you create supervised account for kids under 13. Learn more about Family Link.  

Use a different website. YouTube is the most popular video site, but other good options offer built-in safety measures for kids. Consider one of these safe social sites

Here are some tips to set up teens for YouTube success:

Have a plan. Ask her to create a proposal for her channel that describes what she wants to offer, who the audience is, how often she'll post, whether she'll take advertising, and other considerations.

Talk about content. Now's a good time to discuss what's OK to post, what should remain private, and other basics of digital citizenship.

Do a "beta launch." Take a page from the book of many tech start-ups and start small to work out the kinks. Start with strict privacy settings and a limited audience of trusted friends and family, and ask for constructive feedback on what's working (and not working).

Check in. Once she's up and running, continue to support her. Unexpected issues -- both positive and negative -- are sure to come up. Knowing she can rely on your support is a big deal.

Handle feedback. Teens are often surprised to discover that not everything they upload receives universal praise. YouTube comments are notoriously harsh. But dealing with feedback is a learning experience. These tips can help you coach her through it.

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Comments

Kid, 12 years old

Hi, i really want a YouTube Channel because i want to upload videos of myself singing a few cover songs. But my parents aren't letting me because it will include my name, age, face and stuff and because there are some problems since i'm only 12. They are concerned if my face and personal information is used for other things by other people. It's my dream to upload my singing because i love music. Do you have any advice please???
Kid, 10 years old

Hi, I want a YouTube channel Really Bad. I wanted one ever since I started Watching Youtube, which was when I was around 8 years old. I have my own Youtube account, but not a channel. You need to agree to Youtube’s Terms of service to make a channel and be able to comment on video’s. It’s not that my parents won’t let me get a channel, just I never got around to making a channel. I really want a channel and just because I’m a kid does not mean I can’t get a channel because kids like EvanTube is younger then me and he has a channel, so why Can’t I have one?
Teen, 14 years old written by Voicingspy03

Personally, I think it’s fine for teens to have a YouTube channel, not anyone under the age of 10 though. I am 14 and I run a YouTube channel, Voicingspy Vlogs, that is for teens (cuz I swear). My 6 year old cousin has an iPad, and all she does is watch YouTube videos. She goes on the actual YouTube site, and there can be some pretty inappropriate, and “scary” stuff on there. So if you want to let your kids on YouTube, please download the YouTube kids app..
Kid, 10 years old

When I was little I used to watch YouTube Video’s on my iPad, I was probably WAY to young, But I still liked watching YouTube. I agree that YouTube should be for Kids 10 and up, And they should be supervised with safety-mode on. I also agree that kids under 10 should have the YouTube kids app, but should still be supervised.
Kid, 11 years old

I’ve always wanted to start a YouTube channel, because, for me, it’s really fun to plan out everything, and it’s nice to accomplish something that others can enjoy, too, but I’ve never asked my parents, because I’m too afraid that they’ll say I’m too young, or that I don’t have enough time. That’s why I’m here. I find looking at these questions, answers, and comments fun. It’s all I can really do for now.
Kid, 12 years old

If you haven't asked your parents yet, don't be scared! Tell them why you want to have a YouTube channel, and make agreements with them! I have a dream of making a YouTube channel as well, and after asking my parents they're considering it! Good luck on your channel!
Kid, 12 years old

Thanks for this article! I've been considering a YouTube channel for several years now, but my mom has never allowed me to. I am one of the most lazy kids anyone will meet, so my mom told me that if I really wanted a YouTube channel, I would have to make a PowerPoint and present it to her. I did, using information from this article, and I will now get a YouTube channel when I get A's in all my classes. I have been wanting a YouTube channel since 7 years old, and I will never forget this article. Common sense media has changed my childhood for the better, even though it wouldn't let me play COD. Just kidding. Not really. ;')
Adult written by Monera

I had a YouTube channel once, but deleted it since I no longer felt comfortable with some of the content that I posted when I was younger. I thought it would be best to minimize my digital footprint before I got into college applications and job applications. None of my videos were "inappropriate" or anything controversial, but I thought it wouldn't be as a sophisticated image to present to colleges if I had YouTube videos up. I'd say there are plenty of really cool YouTube channels that are fun and completely appropriate and have become huge successes! Many can have different themes, like music, or even educational ones! It is what you make it to be, basically. Just use common sense and general internet safety and it should be fine. I'd advise to steer clear of profanity, controversial topics, negative criticism, and of course, provocative themes. Overall, It's perfectly fine if you keep it rated G.
Kid, 11 years old

I'm turning 12 this year so that means I'll be 13 next year! I just wanna know if its alright if kids over the age of 11-12 are allowed to make videos. I see 6-year-olds making videos so why shouldn't we? I know there is Kids React where kids make videos reacting to things so if your parent says its ok and watches over your channel are we allowed to make videos?
Teen, 15 years old written by HarryPrice

I think that it is absolutely fine for a child that is under the age of 13 to create a YouTube channel but under 9 or 10 should be monitored: what they watch, what they search and the comments someone is posting in their comment section but other than that, they should be able to take criticism from people and still be up beat about their channel. : )
Teen, 13 years old written by Lolziekween

I think your child should have an account if they show signs of being mature enough (i.e. doing chores on time, doing things without you asking). If your child does get a channel, closely monitor her activity. Or you can let her user your account and monitor it that way.
Teen, 14 years old written by The_Unknown_User

I have been asking my parents for a Youtube for 3 years and Im 14 years old. I understand that parents want the best for there kid/kids and I really do respect that. Thats what most of our parents say, "I dont want you being put at risk" However I do think that Kids should get a chance at it and not just get a flat out NO! Give us 1 and only 1 to proove ourselvse worthy of a youtube.
Teen, 15 years old written by nog642

If they're at least 11 or 12 then it's fine. Make sure they're mature enough to handle criticism online. According to Google's policy, you're not allowed to make a YouTube account if you're under 13, but this policy is pretty much never enforced, so it doesn't really matter.
Adult written by Puky N.

While I am no expert, my child's experience with Youtube has been very rewarding. Before youtube he was shy and didn't get to connect as much to others because we no longer needed to take him to DayCare since I retired from the military. Being at the inbetween age of toddlerhood and Pre-K it was daunting for me as a father to come up with more activities for him to do other than being on a tablet watching other kids videos all day. So I decided to make what he watches a reality and casted him as the star (along with our doggies of course!) So now he seems more structured and feels a bit more connected to other kids and the best thing about it is that he sometimes sees himself on Youtube and on TV. Please let me know what you think or how I am doing by checking out the channel for yourself :) Puky Toys&Fun https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw-tp8g49-vU_uVSFLYYhPA/featured
Adult written by Grainne G.

It's not illegal for kids under 13 to create social media profiles on sites that collect user data so long as the parent is aware of the account, knows user data is being collected, and has approved the kid's account. ++++++++++++ Whilst it's not illegal some social media sites do not permit children under 13 to make accounts even with parental permission. If Facebook discovers your pre-teen has an account they will be banned.
Kid, 11 years old

I am 11 and I do Animal Jam videos! It's perfectly fine. My parents watch each video before I upload it
Parent of a 10 and 10 year old written by lisa B.

Thank you for that, my daughter is 10 and wants to start an account but I am a little nervous.. I will think again.
Parent written by Kristina K.

I think its a good idea. My kids watch them all the time, and they are very educational. Check out Willys Toys on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgXtpdXslOo
Teen, 13 years old written by dance_is_life04

It would be wonderful for your kid to create a YouTube channel. It's an excellent way for her to get her creative juices flowing! It always forms acknowledgement of productivity and the prosperity and to set goals!
Aunt of a 16 year old written by Mike B.

Definitely, its OK! Own channel for a Kid is the perfect way to grow creativity...Do you remember your school theater? Youtube might be an everyday theater and way to talk to the world..But your should talk to kids about this, cause there is some danger_he/she might be too dependent on strangers and community opinion..all those Likes ans Share become an important part of kids life..but is communitys opinion about you really important..My kids are too small yet)) and we mostly prefer kids friendly channels like that) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHAvYKMLX5w and already thinking about creating our own show with kids and Im going to control that!
Educator and Parent written by Elishaba

First, I would question the reason behind the channel. If it is something that will be supervised and follows precautions to avoid predators it can be a great learning experience. I would also check the privacy settings. Never assume that the student/child understands online safety. This could be a great teachable moment. I would also suggest having your child take an online safety quizzes that Common Sense offers appropriate to her age level.
Teen, 17 years old written by MrsLevitan

I would follow these rules: 1) Don't give out name, age, address, or school name. 2) ALWAYS monitor her videos, and occasionally scroll through the comments for child predators. If you would like to, she is able to blur her face out on YouTube. I would also suggest turning on Safety Mode on YouTube.
Teen, 15 years old written by madiz_nitxk

I am 15 going to be 16 in April 2017 and I want to start a YouTube account I think My dad is okay but it is My mom who is spketical about it! As she was of me making a Disney store through Instagram and start my Disney pin collection and trading bus! Which o dropped btw. But have any suggestions???
Kid, 12 years old

My mom allows me on YouTube under these rules: 1. No saying my name or age.(I have a YouTube name). 2. No showing my face. 3. She's able to delete anything she wants. I admit, I HAVE seen weird stuff on YouTube, but with my mom, it's easier not to. I also share an account with her.
Adult written by Evan F.

Nobody can do anything at all to you by saying your first name and saying your age and they also can do nothing to you by showing your face and what kin of content does your mom delete of she deletes everything she doesn't like then your channel can't grow if all of your videos get deleted just act like your talking to somebody in person no extra risk
Educator and Parent written by Cyber Safety Lady

YouTubes terms of service have changed slightly. Between ages 13yrs and 18yrs you need parental consent, or be an emancipated Minor. They definitely do not allow under 13yr olds even with parents permission. I don't think it's a great idea to encourage parents to set up an account for their child to post videos if they are under 13 years of age, especially as YouTube specifically discourage it. Good comments on this in regard to using some of the available settings on YouTube, disabling comments. The dangers for younger kids signing up to YouTube are not just data collecting but also risks of seeing very adult content on YouTube even with the safe search option enabled, and being subjected to ridicule at a young impressionable age. Videos can be downloaded from YouTube or screen captured and reposted elsewhere. I recommend parents use one of the child friendly apps as suggested in this post. See YouTubes Terms Of Service Number "12. Ability to Accept Terms of Service. You affirm that you are either more than 18 years of age, or an emancipated minor, or possess legal parental or guardian consent, and are fully able and competent to enter into the terms, conditions, obligations, affirmations, representations, and warranties set forth in these Terms of Service, and to abide by and comply with these Terms of Service. In any case, you affirm that you are over the age of 13, as the Service is not intended for children under 13. If you are under 13 years of age, then please do not use the Service. There are lots of other great web sites for you. Talk to your parents about what sites are appropriate for you."
Teen, 15 years old written by madiz_nitxk

What do you suggest as a 15 year old who wants to do videos on YouTube? And what I can do to hide the under age stuff??!
Adult written by Jen H.

Well, I let my children have YouTube with no filters starting at 6 years old . This may outrage many parents but it really depends how mature and responsible your child is. There is many terrible things on the internet that are definitely not appropriate for children, but on the other hand they will see these things on the television , school and other things. You truly can't shield your children from simply, life. Just remember that they will see things out of social media and hear things that are worse than what YouTube will display.
Adult written by Evan F.

It's harder to grow your channel of there is to many things you can't do, have the same rules that you would have in a conversation and apply them to your videos there the same thing your talking they are listening they can talk back in the comments and you can talk back in the comments, would you refuse to tell somebody your first name if your having a conversation with somebody and if your talking to a stranger would you wear a mask and hide your face no you wouldn't but that's just my opinion.
Teen, 14 years old written by aves_zimmy

I would recommend it as a fun way for your child to express themselves! However, I would take the precautions of blocking comments, as they can be cruel, and turning off ratings, as a simple thumbs down could really hurt a kid's feelings. Using a shared account is a great idea if you want to keep tabs on her activity on YouTube, but she likely wants some freedom on her account. YouTube is used for self expression, after all!
Teen, 16 years old written by Silverfall

YouTube is a great way to express yourself and interact with people all around the globe, however as the authors response stated, people in the comment section can be exceptionally rude, so make sure your child is prepared for that. YouTube has a built in feature that allows content creators to block, delete, and blacklist users and words from their comments.
Teen, 15 years old written by madiz_nitxk

What do you suggest for a first Time YouTuber officially doing it and not backing out? I will be 16 in April of 2017 btw