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After listening to this episode, you’ll feel more comfortable making a decision when it come to

  • Allowing your child or teen to view content on Youtube, and/or 
  • Allowing your child or teen to create their own YouTube channel.

REMEMBER…the most important aspect to making ANY decision when it comes to parenting your child or teen is to make sure it aligns with your personal passions, values, and beliefs – and this episode will give you all the information you’ll need to make these important decisions.

Be sure to download the free parenting resource that goes along with this episode. It is the Ultimate Guide ti Kids and Technology. Enter your email address in the box below and I’ll email it to you ASAP!

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The Ultimate Guide on Kids & Tech

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Transcript:

Hello Modern Parents and welcome to the Modern Parenting Solutions podcast. 

This is the place where you’ll find effective solutions to many of today’s modern day parenting challenges.

I’m you host, Dr. Becca Ballinger, child psychologist, Modern Parenting expert, and mom to 2 wonderful young adults.

Today’s episode concludes this 5 part series on kids and technology. On this episode we’re going to be talking about all things YouTube, but let me review what we’ve covered so far. 

The first episode in this kids and tech series talked about the psychology behind why kids become addicted to their smartphones, video games, and social media apps. Knowing HOW companies use psychological tactics to get kids addicted helps in creating parenting strategies to counteract these sneaky practices. I break down exactly what you need to do in order to create a balance for you child when it comes to online versus offline activities. This balance CAN be done, and as a Modern Parent you NEED to start teaching your child that healthy balance NOW so that they learn this life skill by the time they become independent adults. You can listen to that episode in episode #4 of this podcast.

The next episode in the kids and tech series dove into the best practices for kids and teens when it comes to smart and healthy smartphone use. Giving kids a smartphone doesn’t have to be a bad thing – especially when you have a plan that teaches them how to use this important device in a wise and balanced way.

The third episode in the series was on kids and gaming and the fourth episode was on kids and social media. These episodes provide you with the best practices for allowing your child or teen to use these platforms in a way that makes sense for them.

You can catch up with all this previous information by listening to episodes 4 through 8 of this podcast.

So like I said, today’s episode ends the kids and tech series and it’s all about YouTube. So many Modern Parents have questions about their child or teen’s YouTube viewing habits AND whether or not to allow their teen to create their own YouTube channel.  I’m going to go over all that information in today’s episode, and my goal for this episode is for you to increase your confidence in this area. 

Remember that one of the major tenants of Modern Parenting is that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all way to parent. I’ve found that Modern Parents become successful when they use their personal passions, values, and beliefs as a guide in which to make all of their parenting decisions. So this means that every family will have a different comfort level with YouTube viewing and creating – and that’s ok. If you haven’t listened to episode # 2 yet on How To Become a Confident Parent, I really encourage you to go back and listen to that episode. That episode will really help you plug into your inner passions, values, and beliefs which are the primary ingredients to parenting with wisdom and confidence.

One of my goals for this episode, is to make sure that you leave this episode with the knowledge you need in order to make a good decision that aligns with YOUR values and beliefs regarding your child and YouTube.

In order to set you up for success in creating this social media strategy, check out the free parenting resource that I created called The Kids and Technology Guide. This free downloadable resource can be found at ModernParentinSolutions.org/episode8. This guide provides you with all the information you’ll need to understand the psychology behind kids and technology, as well as the best practices when allowing your child to use smartphones, video games, social media, and YouTube.

You can find this resource, as well as many other free parenting resources on my website at ModernParentingSolutions.org. Not only will you be able to find every podcast episode and their show notes, and lots of free downloadable parenting resources, but you’ll also have the opportunity to sign up for my weekly 3-2-1 newsletter where every week I share 3 important Modern Parenting Topics, 2 helpful resources, and 1 weekly parenting challenge.  In addition, if you live in the Riverside/San Bernardino area of Southern California, and you are looking for a child therapist for your child, tween, teen, or young adult, you can check out my team of therapists who work with me at Modern Parenting Solutions and find out how to make an appointment with us. We take most insurance or we can work with your PPO.

So let’s start talking about kids and YouTube. First I’ll give you my best practices for allowing your child or teen to watch YouTube content and then I’ll give you my best advice about allowing kids and teens to create their own YouTube channels and conent.

So how much DO you know about YouTube? 

The first YouTube video was created and uploaded on April 23rd 2005 – and since that time 15 years ago, almost 5 billion YouTube videos are watched by people from all around the globe, AND – can you believe this! – nearly 300 hours of new content is uploaded EVERY MINUTE!

Wow! Take that fact in. Every minute there is 300 hundred new hours of videos to consume – that means that this platform is constantly changing, evolving, and tempting your child or teen to put down their homework, chores, or hobby to view this brand new content.

This can be very distracting for young people. For example, I recently had a young client in my office who seemed really distracted during our session. I asked her what was going on and she explained to me that she got a notification earlier that day that one of her YouTube channels had just released a new episode and that was all she could think about!

With YouTube being the second most popular website in the world, right behind google, it is easy to see how this platform is heavily consumed by our Modern Kids. And there are some definite guidelines that every Modern Parent should follow in order to teach their kids how to use YouTube wisely. And I’m going to go over those guidelines right now.

The first guideline is to monitor and limit Youtube use just like you would television use. According to the latest PEW research study on kids and social media use, kids reported turning to youtube to fill their downtime the most, just behind Instagram. This means that for several hours each day, your child is passively watching video, just like they would be doing if sitting in front of the television. The same rules and guidelines that you have with television should also apply to Youtube viewing.

The second guideline for smart use of YouTube is to communicate your guidelines regarding what kinds of shows and videos you are comfortable with your child viewing. For teens, you should specifically spell out for them what you believe is appropriate and what is not. For instance, do you care if your child views videos that have swearing in them? What about violence? Or sexual innuendos or situations? Or dark and depressing videos? You’ve got to be specific here and let your teen know where you draw the line, and then MONITOR what videos they’re tuning into from time to time.

For younger kids and tweens, it’s helpful to create playlists of approved videos together with your child. Sit down with them and discuss which shows fit your criteria for appropriate viewing. Allow them to make some suggestions, but ultimately the decision is up to you. This provides a great opportunity for you to explain your reasoning behind these decisions AND for your child to learn how to make these decisions for themselves in the future.

Next, the third guideline is to talk to your child about clicking on suggested videos and ads. Remember that Youtube has a whole marketing department aimed at keeping viewers HOOKED on their platform for as long as possible, so it’s your job as a Modern Parent to open your child’s eyes to these tactics. Communicate your guidelines for clicking on suggested videos,  and teach your child which video suggestions they should NEVER click on.

The fourth guideline for kids and YouTube is to talk to your child or teen about Inappropriate content. According to Youtube’s safety guidelines, they recommend that if you see a video that you feel is inappropriate or which may violate their Community Guidelines, you should flag the video immediately. This is the fastest way to bring potentially inappropriate content to their attention. YouTube’s policy states that their specialists review flagged videos 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and that they take these alerts very seriously.

Finally, the last guideline is to ensure that your child uses screen names instead of real names. If your child posts comments on their favorite Youtube channel, teach them to use a screen name and to always keep their comments positive. If they want to create their own Youtube channel – and we’re going to talk more about that in a minute – then teach them that they should never give out personal information on their channel, including their real name.

So those are the 5 basic guidelines that I preach about in my private practice, but I still get a lot of questions about kids and YouTube.

Probably the top question I get from Modern parents is how to get kids to turn OFF YouTube. It’s easy to get sucked into watching hours upon hours of content on Youtube, and many kids argue and complain when parents ask them to turn it off. 

My recommendation for this issue is to always have a regular and consistent routine. Having a consistent and predictable schedule for any online activity (i.e. Youtube, video games, social media, etc.) helps to eliminate this kind of behavior. For example, if your family’s rule for online use is limit screen time to no more than 2 hours per day, then you can provide your child with the autonomy to choose HOW they want to spend their 2 hours of online time, but that when the 2 hours are up, they need to find offline activities to do.

 In addition to setting limits on online activities, it’s also important to set the tone in your house regarding offline activities as well. While kids of all ages should have some downtime to figure out how to entertain themselves, it’s also helpful if you take the lead in setting up offline activities for your child as well. These activities could be as simple as spending time with extended family member or signing your child up for extra curricular activities.

Another question I get a lot is about the content on YouTube. It’s pretty obvious that kids and teens should probably stay away from viewing content that is too mature for them, but what about content that is aimed for kids and teens, but doesn’t have any real substance to it? For example, many parents that I talk to are unsure of whether or not they should let their kids and teens watch YouTube videos of OTHER kids plays video games. This type of video is definitely unique to this generation, and it’s something that every Modern Family will have different comfort levels with. 

This type of YouTube video is definitely something that I call “mind candy” and should be treated just like any other entertainment show. Again, whether or not your child is passively watching funny cat videos or watching other kids play video games, unwrap toys or build Legos from scratch, this type of viewing should be limited. Allow your child a certain amount of online time and let them choose HOW to use this time however they want (within your guidelines) – but when this time is up, encourage them to participate in healthier activities.

Ok. I hope this information helps you feel more CONFIDENT when making decisions about YouTube viewing in your household. Now let’s transition into talking about allowing your child or teen to create their own YouTube channel.

Are kids or teens even allowed to create their own YouTube channels? YouTube is supposed to be for users over the age of 13, due to the fact that the parent company, Google, collects and markets user data. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) exempts kids from data collection. But, as we all know, plenty of kids have YouTube channels.

Now it’s not illegal for kids under 13 to create social media profiles on sites that collect user data – so long as the parent is aware of the account, that they know user data is being collected on their child’s account, and they’ve given their child to have an account.

MANY kids these days get inspired to create their own YouTube channel after watching other kids their age create successful YouTube channels. Every child or teen’s motivation for creating a YouTube channel can be different, but most want to have their own YouTube channel because they dream that it will make them popular or rich – and they’re not wrong!

If you ask your child or teen to list off popular YouTube channels created by kids, they could probably give you a pretty HUGE list. And a small proportion of these kids and teens with YouTube channels are also making a good living by operating these YouTube channels – but let’s get realistic with the facts here.

According to YouTube statistics, kid and teen Youtubers on average make $1.50 per thousand views from the Youtube Partner Program, which is a program that pays for ads to be posted on YouTube content. That means that your child will need to have at least 1,000 people visit their individual YouTube video in order to make $1.50 if they had an ad placed on it. If 1 million people viewed one of their YouTube videos with an ad, your child would make $1,500.

This is important information to know, especially if one of your child or teen’s motivators for creating a YouTube channel is to become rich and famous. The small percentage of kids and teens who are making lots of money by posting videos of themselves playing videos games, creating make up tutorials, or doing dares on camera are able to make a living from these videos because they put in a lot of hard work and time.

If your child is hoping to become an overnight sensation, this is just not likely to happen, but if they are serious about creating their own channel and believe that they have the commitment and patience to grow a quality channel, then I believe that they should first create a business-like proposal for you as the parent to approve.

Have them create a document or PowerPoint presentation to address the following 6 areas of their proposed YouTube channel:

  • What is their vision or goal for their YouTube Chanel? For example, is it to teach other teens how to apply makeup or to teach their peers new and unique video game techniques? Be wary if their reason is to be popular or rich – these aren’t worthwhile reasons to start a YouTube channel. Also think long and hard if your child wants to make a youtube channel that is basically a video diary of their life. This can open your child up to unwanted negative criticism that your child might not be able to handle, AND it can possibly be dangerous, as strangers could learn private information about your child or teen that could put them at risk.
  • Number two. Who is their intended audience? Most likely, it will be other kids their age, but you want them to verbalize this realization.
  • Number 3. How much time will they devote each week to their channel and how will they fit in this time with other important tasks? They need to be up front with you – and themselves – with the time commitment. This way, you can make a good decision on whether or not to let them go through with the YouTube channel if it seems like they will still have enough time to do homework, chores, and extra curriculars around the time spent on maintaining the YouTube channel.
  • Number 4. How will they handle safety on their channel? Make sure your child or teen has a plan for maintaining privacy. You don’t want random strangers finding them offline and putting them in dangerous situations.
  • Number 5. Will comments be turned on or off? If comments will be left on, who will moderate the comments? Teens are often surprised to discover that not everything they upload receives universal praise. YouTube comments are notoriously harsh. But dealing with feedback is a learning experience and make sure that you and your child thoroughly think through whether or not comments will be allowed.
  • Number 6. How will they handle fame? How will they handle it if their channel gets popular What if it doesn’t get popular? Have your child consider BOTH possibilities and what that means to a healthy self-esteem.

So, if your child is able to answer all 6 questions in a way that allows you to feel comfortable with their proposed YouTube channel, then allowing them to experiment with this platform might make sense. If you allow your child to go through with creating their own YouTube channel, you MUST provide ongoing oversight. In order to do that, make sure that your child understands that yor must always know their username and password to their YouTube channel, and that you have the ultimate authority to shut down their channel if you believe it is necessary.

Also, tie behavior and academic goals into the privilege of having a YouTube channel. Makes sure that your child is aware that in order to keep up their YouTube channel that they MUST maintain a certain grade point average AND that their behavior at home needs to follow all family guidelines.

Ok Modern Parents. That’s it for today. I hope that you now feel more confident in your guidelines for allowing your child to view YouTube content and/or create their own YouTube channel.

Remember, I’m NOT telling you whether or not you should let your child watch YouTube or have their own channel, what I AM telling you to do is to make sure whatever decision you come to aligns with your personal passions, values, and beliefs.

Ok. Before you do anything else, download the free resource that goes along with this episode and Sign up for my weekly 3-2-1 Modern Parenting Newsletter where every week I share with my readers 3 important ideas, 2 parenting resources, and 1 weekly challenge. You can find all of this information – and more – by visiting ModernParentingSolutions.org.

I’ll see you next week when I discuss another parenting 101 topic – which is a topic that I believe creates a core foundation for any healthy Modern Family, and that is building a close parent-child relationship. Sometimes parents think that having a positive and close relationship with their child or teen is impossible, but I’m here to tell you that it’s not and I’ll share with you my best tips in creating the relationship you’ve always wanted with your child. So tune in next week.

DISCLAIMER

The resources presented on the Modern Parenting Solutions website are not intended to replace therapy – they are for reference and educational purposes only. As every family is individual and unique in their strengths and weaknesses, the resources and advice supplied on this website are general in nature and should never replace any medical or psychological services that you may be currently engaged in. Please contact a mental health professional if you have any questions.

If you are experiencing an emergency, please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.

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