What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents needs to know that YouTube is a video-sharing site, and there are many videos on YouTube that may not be age-appropriate for their kids. Channel owners can also now distribute live content. The site is entirely user-generated and relies on its community to flag videos that violate YouTube's terms of service (mostly for sexual content, language, and hate speech). Plenty of inappropriate content can surface by typing in the most innocent of search terms, so parents will want to monitor kids' use. Videos here run the gamut, from commercial to educational to music videos to homemade clips. Many kids love YouTube and rely on it as a way of keeping up with popular culture; videos go "viral" when viewers share the clips they like. One of the Web's most popular destinations for people of all ages, YouTube now curates its videos, suggesting clips and new "channels" based on what you've watched previously. Kids can also discover new videos by seeing what's popular and trending throughout its immense collection. These new features can easily increase the amount of time your kids spend on the site. YouTube does offer parents the ability to filter out objectionable content and comments using Safety Mode. However, Safety Mode doesn't catch everything, and it's easy to disable. YouTube also has three channels by which users can access specialized content: YouTube Kids, YouTube Gaming, and YouTube Music. Users can also subscribe to YouTube Red: For $9.99 a month, users can stream videos for free, save videos for background and offline viewing, and access new original content.
What's it about?
On this comprehensive video library site, visitors can search -- and find -- virtually anything. YOUTUBE's content is entirely user-generated, so it's important to be attentive to each video's source. Plenty of age-inappropriate content can surface when you type in the most innocent of search terms, so parents will want to monitor kids' use. Videos here run the gamut, from commercial to educational to music videos to homemade clips, but for those seeking educational or instructional content, there's plenty to peruse and some helpful information to use.
Is it any good?
This video-sharing site has easily secured its place in pop culture, primarily because it offers so much to discover -- and love -- in this comprehensive video library: Information. Education. Instruction. Entertainment. Distraction. Delight. Want step-by-step guided instructions on making dozens of styles of friendship bracelets? Need to know how to create a unique Halloween costume? Want to show your kid what the robot from Lost in Space looked like or check out the Earth's solar system? You'll find that and much, much more here, including the latest viral videos of that kid or cat everyone's laughing about. The beauty of YouTube is being able to see so much in one place at any given time. But that also makes it difficult to know what your kids are finding and viewing when you're not supervising.
Yes, YouTube provides an endless source of useful information. But, as with other Internet search engines, it's also rife with questionable content and inappropriate user comments that are easy for computer-savvy kids to find and view. This isn't likely to change, even with the newly created content-specific channels such as Gaming, Music, or Kids or with the paid, ad-free channel, YouTube Red. In addition, in fall 2016, YouTube debuted its Community feature for YouTube channel owners, which provides live video capabilities. Users are also able to text through the feature and share animated GIFs and images to connect with fans, who can sign up to receive notifications whenever hosts post something.
What makes YouTube such an innovative site is its usefulness as a creative outlet for kids and adults alike. Homemade movies -- from silly to serious and everything in between -- are commonplace, and innovative video creations are easy to find. It's not only a place to experience and enjoy the creativity of others but also a place to exercise your own. That said, due to the scope of what's posted, some guidance is a good idea.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about appropriate content for kids to view. Since there are plenty of items that are inappropriate for kids, how can you tell whether your kids are watching videos that are safe for them? What if they click on a suggested video that has mature content?
Talk about digital media creation. What appeals to you about creating videos or making a YouTube channel? Do your friends have their own channels?