Kids love YouTube. They could spend hours watching videos on there, whether it’s toy unboxings, cartoons, TV series, music videos, or video game play.
And at one point or another, many kids will ask about having their own YouTube channel. They might hear their friends talk about having their own and want to do the same or aspire to be the next big YouTube star. Or maybe they simply have an interest in videography and feel like they might be entertaining enough to garner some views.
Whatever the reason, if you’re thinking of letting them proceed with setting something up, here are a few tips before you let them run free on the world wide web.
10 Don’t Let Them Show Their Face
Kids, especially older ones, might argue that all of their friends are posting YouTube videos dancing around or talking on camera. Don’t fall for that argument if you have concerns about your child putting his face and identity out there. Compromise and let them know that you’re happy to allow them to have a YouTube channel, but it can only contain their voice, hands, or other content. They can demonstrate how to make slime, decorate cupcakes, make stop motion films, or play live video games while people watch the screen and hear the commentary. But there’s no need for them to show their faces and reveal their identity, or any identifying things about your location (e.g. their school in the background or a local hotspot). This goes for friends as well, who should never appear in your child's public YouTube videos without their parents permission.
9 Have A Talk With Them About Self-Esteem
Make sure they understand that the videos should just be for fun and not in an attempt to get “likes” and win favour with classmates and friends. Kids too often look elsewhere, such as online and through social media, to boost their self-esteem, which isn’t healthy. Have them focus on putting in the effort to create the videos for their own satisfaction. Emphasize to them that they should not be looking for anything in return, such as popularity, attention, or even fame.
8 Make the Account Private
Rather than have the account open for viewing by anyone, make it private so only those who have been invited to see the videos can access them, or those who subscribe. Allow the child to share the account with family members and close friends.
If they want to add other people, make sure they get your approval first, and check to ensure that the person is someone they know personally, like a child they met at summer camp, and you’re OK with this new friend seeing the videos.
7 Turn Off The Commenting Function
There are a lot of Internet trolls who thrive on insulting others. If you decide to let the account remain open, at least turn off commenting so the child doesn’t have to be exposed to the inevitable negativity that is unfortunately an unavoidable part of Internet culture. Anyone who wishes to comment on the video and actually matters will do so in person, through text messaging or on the phone. Everyone else? Well, who cares what they think! If they like it, they can watch. If they don’t, switch to another channel.
6 Let Them Be Creative
Creating YouTube videos can be a fun and educational process for kids. Let the creativity flow as they experiment with things like camera angles, video filters, techniques like slow motion, and scripted voiceovers. If they take it seriously, it could be something they want to pursue later in life. But if they are just having fun, let them go for it, and let the creative juices fly. As long as they’re doing things safely and appropriately, and nothing gets posted live until you approve it, let them enjoy the process, and film tons of outtakes.
5 Don’t Include Any Personal Information
Make sure that you sign your child up for the account (which is a requirement if they are under the age of 13 anyway) and it’s created in your name. And understand that the account will be your responsibility.
Don’t disclose any personal information either in the account details or the videos themselves. There’s no need to include details about where you live, the child’s name, a personal e-mail address, or anything else that divulges more than the anonymous world wide web needs to know.
4 Make Sure They Realize They Likely Won’t Be The Next Superstar
Make sure they aren’t starting the channel in order to become the next Ryan from Ryans ToysReview or Evan from EvanTube HD. Very few kids who start YouTube channels actually go on to make money from them, but some kids might have stars in their eyes and think it’s easy to become “YouTube famous.” It’s certainly a possibility, but it shouldn’t be the ultimate goal. Express to the child that if they are setting it up to entertain family and friends, that’s great. But if they’re looking for more, tell them they shouldn’t require validation from the outside world because, well, they’re awesome already to all the people who matter most!
3 Try To Make It Educational
You want to emphasize the need to add quality content to the internet, which is already chocked-full of, let’s face it, tons of useless garbage. Encourage your children to have a plan, theme, and, most importantly, purpose to their videos that’s not just participating in the latest silly (and sometimes dangerous) pranks or challenges. Are they trying to show other kids how to pass certain levels in a video game? Great. Maybe want to demonstrate make-up or hairdo techniques on a doll to help inspire kids? Perfect. Do they want to unbox a toy to show how it works, and discuss what they like and dislike about it? That’s helpful. Even if the video is to showcase their awesome video editing skills, that’s a worthwhile purpose. Whatever the case, make sure the child can answer the question “what’s the purpose of this video?” beyond just “because it’s fun” or “I think my friends will like it.”
2 Help Them Improve The Video Quality
You might not be a professional cameraperson, but you can use the video-making process as a bonding experience with your child. Study tips and tricks together and try to help him or her improve. You could also go shopping with your child for accessories like a mini tripod, monopod, or lightbox to show you take their hobby seriously, or even work together with them to make fun backdrops for videos using arts and crafts materials. The child might not want you to be involved in the recording process. But at least you can show interest so they feel comfortable with showing you the final products.
1 Monitor the Account Daily
This leads to the final, and arguably most important tip: do not give your child unsupervised access to the account. As noted, the age at which you can have a YouTube account, according to the site’s terms of service, is 13. So any child younger than that should not be able to login to a YouTube account, change settings, or post videos. Rather, you are the gatekeeper. The child can create videos for the account and even give the account a name of their choosing. However, it’s actually mom’s or dad’s account, with their e-mail address and password. Mom and dad must vet any video before it’s posted, preview all comments (if you leave commenting open), and read all direct messages before the child does. If these rules are too strict, the child is welcome to record videos on their tablet and show them to friends locally instead.