We know that YouTube is very popular with children and young people, who watch videos on YouTube for various reasons, such as watching their favourite gamers (over 100 billion hours of gaming videos were watched on YouTube in 2020), learning about their hobbies, finding how-to videos and much more. But not all content on YouTube is suitable for children and young people to see.
There are settings that you can use to help such as ‘Restricted Mode’ but you should talk to your child about what they are looking at on YouTube. YouTube has a Child Safety page which gives parents and carers more information on what they’re doing to try and keep kids safe on the site.
What are the benefits and risks of using YouTube for children and young people?
Our YouTube review gives lots of advice and tips on how to help keep your child safe such as safety features and settings for when your child is viewing content on YouTube, but what about if they want to make and share their own videos?
Making videos can be a great way of learning new digital skills, help with writing skills such as scripts and storyboarding as well as promoting creativity and critical thinking but there are some risks that you should be aware of, such as:
Oversharing - Sharing personally identifiable information such as name, school name etc. Ensure you speak to your child about personal and private information and what is or is not appropriate to share.
Disinhibition – When hidden behind a screen it can be easy to say or do things that you wouldn’t do offline. This could be oversharing but it could also include sharing videos which are inappropriate, revealing or even offensive. You could agree with your child that you should view any videos they create before they upload them.
Pressure – They might feel pressure to create more videos or different content to keep up with trends which adults or influencers are doing. This could involve sharing personal information or age inappropriate behaviour or language. Keep the conversation going with your child and if you see that they are feeling under pressure, find out why and talk to them about this.
A child should be 13 years old to create their own YouTube account. Young people between the ages of 13 and 17 can create their own accounts, but only with the permission of their parents or carers.
Google provides support for parents who wish to create an account for their child, which includes using Family Link to manage the account. You can find more about Family Link here.