A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this youtube.
The purpose of this channel is to add educational value for viewers of different age ranges. The channel covers a wide array of topics like history, STEM, mythology, philosophy, economics, psychology, literature, public health, business and more. Some topics are more geared toward older teenagers, like a video series helping high schoolers prepare for college. Episode descriptions include a link to a document that has all the sources of information from the video. Videos tend to be short, so it can feel like there's a lot of information and terminology packed in to a small amount of time, which can feel overwhelming. Some of the hosts speak fast, so it can be hard to keep up. Luckily videos have time stamps to show when certain topics were discussed so you can go back and rewatch segments. Related courses are available on the Crash Course app.
Encourages and supports curiosity and willingness to learn. Learning can be fun and accessible, not just boring lectures that go on for hours. The community section of the channel engages viewers by posing questions and asking for viewer opinions. They also post helpful links and information, including opportunities for scholarships for teens and college students.
Positive Role Models
The hosts are enthusiastic, well-spoken and clearly well-versed in the topics they're discussing.
Though the channel started in 2006 with mainly White men as expert hosts, the channel has since diversified. There are both women and men experts hosting various topical videos as well as experts who are Black Indigenous People of Color. Clint Smith hosts the "Black American History" series, which includes over 50 videos that highlights important Black change makers and the Black experience in the United States. Dr. Shini Somara hosts "Crash Course Physics". Some of the thumbnails and animated illustrations for videos are problematic. For example, in the video about mood disorders and the thumbnail for personality disorders, the animated characters look wild and disheveled, feeding into dangerous stereotypes about these disorders. However the information given in the videos is accurate.
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Violence & Scariness
Some videos discuss topics that may be scary or overwhelming for younger viewers or viewers with different sensibilities. Some of these topics include war, natural disasters and their aftermath, slavery and hate crimes, and mood and personality disorders, which include mention of suicide.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A video titled "Let's Talk About Sex" contains informative discussions about sex, sexuality, and sexual desire from a scientific perspective. Video includes animations, some of which seem gratuitous (while there isn't any graphic nudity, simple animations are seen moving in ways that depict them having sex). Other videos discuss human reproduction and anatomy. Some videos may make brief mention of romantic relationships, but are not otherwise graphic. Make sure to keep an eye on suggested videos underneath these specific videos, since there can sometimes be inappropriate content suggested outside of the channel itself.
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Products & Purchases
Supporters, including PBS and people who donate via Patreon, are listed at the beginning or end of some videos. Some episodes are sponsored and the sponsor is named at the end of the episode. The channel store sells a select variety of posters. The YouTube platform is subject to pop-up ads that sometimes interrupt the video. These ads are not always vetted to be age-appropriate.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
There's a lesson discussing addiction. Medications for certain ailments and psychological disorders are discussed (how they work in the body to help).
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that CrashCourse is a YouTube channel with educational videos for tweens, teens and adults. A variety of subject-matter experts present information about a wide range of academic and social topics through lecture-style videos coupled with animated graphics. Topics include STEM, history, philosophy, economics, psychology, literature and more. A video titled "Let's Talk About Sex" contains informative discussions about sex, sexuality, and sexual desire from a scientific perspective and includes some gratuitous cartoon animations with characters mimic the motions of having sex. There are also some videos that deal with content that may be scary to some viewers, including war, natural disasters and their aftermath, slavery and hate crimes, and mood and personality disorders (with mention of suicide). Though these videos are informational, adults may want to watch with their teens in order to answer any questions they may have. The channel encourages and empowers curiosity and learning. Crash Course also has a YouTube channel for elementary-age kids -- Crash Course Kids.
Is It Any Good?
If your teen is looking for an engaging way to learn more about a specific academic topic, this YouTube channel is a great resource. Created by Vlogbrothers hosts John Green and Hank Green (who also hosts SciShow), Crash Course has a seemingly endless library of informative, interesting and insightful content. Its pro and con is the length of its videos. They're short enough to get interested in certain topics and digest key takeaways, but too short to fully comprehend the topic at hand with just one viewing. This is why these videos are a good complement to topics teens are already learning about or preparing to learn in school. Although the animations are a bit questionable and don't always add to the learning experience, the value the channel adds clouds this minor flaw.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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