What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents needs to know that there are many videos on YouTube that may not be age-appropriate for their kids. 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 age-inappropriate content can be surfaced 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.
What kids can learn
- producing new content
- multiple forms of expression
- digital creation
- evaluating media messages
- using and applying technology
Engagement, Approach, Support
An endless stream of videos enthralls users of all ages, sometimes well past their bedtime. It would be hard to overestimate YouTube's popular appeal.
Having kids take an active role research may help them learn to investigate their interests. There are often multiple videos on a particular topic, so it's possible for kids to find a style that suits them best.
Help videos and FAQ pages are very thorough. However, younger children may still find it difficult to navigate this large, adult-focused site. Users actively network via the site's social media features.
What's it about?
Visitors can search -- and find -- virtually anything on this comprehensive video library site. Its content is entirely user-generated, so it's important to be attentive to each video's source. Plenty of age-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, but for those seeking educational or instructional content, there's plenty to peruse and some helpful information to use.
Is it any good?
YOUTUBE.COM 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 for making dozens of different styles of friendship bracelets? Need to know how to create a unique Halloween costume? Want to show your child 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 that everyone's laughing about. The beauty of YouTube is being able to see so much in one place at any given time. That, however, 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 like other Internet search engines, it is also rife with questionable content and inappropriate user comments that are easy for computer-savvy kids to find and view.
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.
Families can talk about...
Preschool: From The Wiggles to Sesame Street, lots of preschool shows have dedicated channels on YouTube. To avoid finding videos that might be inappropriate, stick to shows you know or preview them before showing your preschooler. Learn about the effects of scary movies on kids and always sit with preschoolers while they use the computer.
Elementary school: Kids this age love to find silly stuff on YouTube -- especially with their friends -- but they can also stumble across age-inappropriate material. Learn more about managing their YouTube use. Also, reinforce the importance of Internet safety.
Middle school: As kids start developing their own interests, they may gravitate toward digital media creation -- a hobby you can feel good about nurturing, as long as they're smart about how they use YouTube.
High school: If teens are following the rules of good Internet behavior, you can allow them a certain level of independence in using YouTube. See why it's still important to remain vigilant about YouTube in the teen years.