YouTube — the land of music videos, funny cat videos, and vloggers trying to become the next video sensation. So, what’s a parent to do when their child approaches them to start their own channel? Naturally, a parent’s first reaction is to ask, why? The answer to which is significant because it allows parents to understand what their child is aiming to gain from the endeavor. Do they want to teach others how to excel at a particular video game? Do they want to show off their arts and craft skills? Do they simply want to upload funny videos of the family pet?
While parents may not fully understand their child’s desire to create videos to share online, it’s becoming a popular way for children to express themselves. Rather than putting on a show at family gatherings, today’s children are choosing to upload their performances for the world to see. Admittedly, allowing children to post videos on the internet can be a bit scary, but it doesn’t have to be. As long as parents actively participate and monitor their child’s activity it is entirely possible for children to safely start their own YouTube channel.
Setting It Up
The first step, and perhaps the most important, is the initial setup of the channel. Ensuring all of the appropriate privacy and safety features are turned on will help ensure a child’s safety.
1) Create a Gmail account for your child if they are under 13 years old. This automatically gives users a YouTube account, but not a YouTube channel.
2) Create a YouTube Channel: Select My Channel in the sidebar on the left side of the YouTube homepage. This is where users select the name associated with their YouTube channel. For safety reasons it is recommended that children use an alias or their first name and fake last initial/name when setting this up.
3) Privacy Settings: The safest way to utilize YouTube is to keep everything private and turn off comments to avoid any rude or inappropriate remarks from other users. However, since these options limit video access to friends and family, it can be counterproductive for a child who is hoping to grow a following.
4) Safety Mode: Selecting safety mode blocks videos that contain mature content. In order to lock the browser into safety mode and prevent children from disabling it, parents must use their own YouTube account and password. It is also necessary to individually lock safety mode on each browser (ex: Safari and Chrome).
- Click the Safety button at the bottom, turn it on and ensure the Lock Browser box is checked.
- Click save and logout.
5) Posting Videos: When uploading a video there are three viewing options:
- Unlisted: Only those with the link can view the video.
- Private: Only those invited to watch the video can access it.
- Public: Everyone has access and it can show up in searches on YouTube.
- Always ensure geotagging is turned OFF so that no one can see your child’s location.
The key to ensuring children stay safe online is to stay involved. This is especially true when it comes to YouTube. Parents of minors should be aware of the types of videos their children are putting up online to ensure no personal information is inadvertently revealed. Kim, a young YouTuber’s Mom, decided that one of the best ways for her to stay involved was to learn about editing software and help her daughter edit and upload her videos. It became a fun activity for them to do together, while also allowing her to keep tabs on the content her daughter was uploading.
Starting a YouTube channel requires a time commitment from both parent and child and continues to do so long after it’s up and running. Therefore, parents should ensure that they have the time to monitor their child’s activity before giving them the green light to become the next YouTube sensation.
Kali Muir is an ambitious freelance writer with a BA in Communications. She was born in Canada but has since lived in Norway, Denmark, and England. Her work experience is as diverse as her past addresses, including roles in technical communication, corporate communication, marketing, and article writing. She has experience working in varied business sectors: Oil & Gas, Engineering & Technology, Clothing & Equipment Retail, and Creative Writing. Follow Kali’s professional and personal journey at www.kalimuir.com, or connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.