YouTube was once a place to watch music videos that we couldn't find on TV, but nowadays, it's a place for people to create their own accounts, upload their own content, and even get paid for content that does well. Seeing how successful young adults are at making their own YouTube channels thrive, it makes sense that over time kids have wanted in on the action, too.
YouTube Kids released in 2015 and became a safe space for kids to view and upload content. Unlike YouTube, YouTube Kids made it safe for children to search and watch content that was appropriate for their age range. Like with any trend or fad, once one kid becomes famous on YouTube, every other kid will want to follow in their tracks, which is why parents need to be prepared if their child starts talking about creating their own YouTube profile. Before agreeing or denying, take the time to think about these 10 things.
10 THEY'RE LOOKING FOR INDEPENDENCE AND A SENSE OF IDENTITY
The first thing a parent needs to realize when their child is thinking about creating a YouTube channel is that they're trying to express themselves. They clearly feel strongly about this venture and feel confident enough in themselves to create something that may be worth watching by other like-minded kids.
If you're not ready to have your child's face on social media, ask them if there are other outlets they can turn to in order to accomplish the same thing. Would drawing help them express themselves? What about writing poetry or playing sports? Regardless of their answer, take notice that this is your child's way of trying to express emotion.
9 LOOK INTO PRIVACY SETTINGS
Before your child creates their own YouTube profile, look into privacy settings first. YouTube has a few different privacy settings, making it easier for YouTubers to control who sees (and can share) their content. Parents can even block content, certain vloggers, and create approved viewing content as well.
YouTube can seem like a scary place due to how infinite the Internet is, but it can be less scary when you see how YouTube Kids tries to protect the kids.
8 ASK THEM WHAT KIND OF CONTENT THEY'RE THINKING OF SHARING
When a child asks if they can create their own YouTube profile, ask them what kind of content they're looking to put out there. What's their personal message and why should people tune in to watch them?
If your child doesn't know what they'd talk about to what they'd show, ask them to create a small plan of attack. Do they want to show other kids how to build things? Do they want to test out their science projects in front of a live audience? Do they want to review kids toys so kiddos themselves can see if they like it or not? All successful YouTube channels have a "why."
7 WHO ARE THEIR YOUTUBE IDOLS AND WHY? WHICH ACCOUNTS ARE THEY NOT A FAN OF?
Now, some parents may already know who their kids' YouTube idols are because they see them on their screens all the time, but it's worth asking. If your child watches JoJo Siwa, ask them why they like her and what they'd like to emulate from her.
If your child loves Kid President, find out what they like most; what makes them watch their videos over and over. Doing this can help you and your child find out what their personal message should be and what like-minded kids like seeing on YouTube.
6 TEACH THEM THE LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media is a scary place. On one hand, it's a place where people can share their greatest memories or message. But on the other hand, it's a place where kids can become obsessive and be around hateful words.
Kids want to create YouTube channels without thinking of the long-term effects. They're not thinking of mean comments, online bullying, or how these videos can affect them when they're adults. They're thinking about that moment only. As a parent, you need to let your child know of the upsides and downsides to doing something so publicly.
5 WHAT'S YOUR STANCE ON MINGLING WITH COMMENTERS?
As a YouTuber, you have the option of turning comments off, limiting comments, or keeping them on all the time. Whether your child is sensitive or not, you need to let them know that not everyone is nice or is going to love their content. Some people simply like being mean behind their keyboard, no matter how sadistic the act is.
As the parent, if you're okay with your child having a YouTube page, we suggest being in charge of the settings and what your child is able to see.
4 AND HOW WILL THEY DEAL WITH NEGATIVE COMMENTS OR BACKLASH FROM VIEWERS?
How is your child going to handle things if their YouTube channel doesn't pan out the way that they thought? Will they be devastated if kids are being mean to them or not even watching the videos that are uploaded every week?
Being a parent means you know how your child reacts to bad news, and when it comes to social media, you also need to keep an eye on your child's well-being. If they're spending too much time in the comments section or focusing on views, it may be a good idea to put the YouTube channel on hold. No app is worth a child's mental health.
3 HOW OFTEN ARE YOU WILLING TO LET YOUR CHILD WORK ON THEIR PROFILE?
It doesn't matter if your child is five or 12 years old, there need to be some rules on how often they are allowed to work on videos. You can allow your kid to work on content or upload a video after their homework is done or you can make weekends designated for YouTube profile work.
Even if your child begins getting paid for their YouTube content, it's not worth ditching or failing school for. Getting an education and mingling with friends who aren't through a computer screen is important for a child's growth.
2 NO MATTER HOW MUCH A CHILD WANTS CONTROL, PARENTS SHOULD MANAGE THEIR ACCOUNT
Let's be honest, some kids are needier than others. Some may be a little embarrassed or shy when their parent is looking at their content, which is why they want full control over their YouTube profile. Meanwhile, some may not care that mom or dad are holding the reigns to their profile as long as they get to be the star of it.
Regardless, parents should make a rule: If a child wants to create a YouTube account, it needs to be done under the parent's email. This way, they have full control over settings, viewing history, comments, etc... If things aren't going as planned or it's taking a negative toll on their child, parents have the ability to pull the plug.
1 NEVER GIVE A REAL IDENTITY
Privacy is so important and yet it all goes out the window when a social media profile is created. From hashtags to tagged locations to friends — it's so easy to find out where a person (or in this case, a child) lives or hangs out at. For a parent, that's scary to think about.
If your child is serious about creating a YouTube page and you're fine with being the manager of the account, create a spunky nickname or social media identity instead. With being so young, videos like these have the ability to stay online forever, which may affect or follow them into adulthood. Creating a fake persona can save them in many ways.