YouTube and Your Child

YouTube is a popular video sharing website that allows users to upload and share video over the Internet. The site is extremely popular with kids, teenagers, and adults, and hosts nearly every kind of video imaginable – for better or worse. From toddler videos to adult content, a variety of videos can be found on YouTube.

As a parent, it’s important to set guidelines for YouTube use, both for viewing and posting videos. Like any media, the website has its advantages. Teenagers can research, share fun videos, and find their favorite music artists and bands on the site. However, the site has also been used to post videos of assaults, share copyrighted information, and more.

Set clear guidelines for what your child is allowed to watch on YouTube. From time to time, ask them to show you your account, or to show you a video that they enjoyed and talk with you about it. As with television or music, you are in control of what your child watches, and you can set limits and guidelines.

Unlike television, however, YouTube has the ability to upload video, as well. This makes it especially important to talk to your child about the immediacy and permanence of the Internet. What they post today may be viewable forever. Impress upon them the risks and dangers involved, and remind them to never post content that is inappropriate. Once it’s on the Internet, it can never truly be taken back. Be sure that they understand this, as well as the legal implications of harassing or insulting someone on video over the Internet.

Teenagers often act first and then think about what they’ve done. If your teen comes to you and explains that they’ve made and posted an inappropriate video, of if you find a video that your teen has posted, work with them to remove it and repair as much damage as possible. Explain to them that their YouTube usage will be drastically limited in the future.

You also have the option to modify the settings on your child’s YouTube account. Privacy settings are available, and should be used as much as possible. You can modify your child’s profile so that they can only share their videos with friends and family, if you so choose, limiting their exposure to strangers and possibly objectionable content. Explain to them that you are limiting their video sharing and posting privileges in order to keep them safe.

If you find out that your teenager is going online and posting videos without your permission, you may be tempted to take away their Internet usage privileges. However, this may or may not solve the problem. If video sharing is the problem, consider taking away their webcam or video camera temporarily, instead. This consequence stops the unwanted behavior without keeping them from content that could be educational or helpful. As always, it is important that you discuss the behavior with them and work towards a mutually acceptable but safe solution.

Have a great day!

Lawrence