For many kids, being a YouTuber today is no longer a hobby. They have their eyes firmly set on YouTube as a future career.
In one poll, more than half of the 1000 children and teenagers between the ages of 6 and 17 polled said that they wanted to be a YouTube star or vlogger for their career. Other polls have confirmed these results. Many children and teenagers express a preference for working as a YouTuber over more conventional jobs such as astronaut, teacher, or even a famous actor.
Many parents are eager to encourage their children to start a YouTube account, having seen the reports of some YouTubers earning millions of dollars from their content.
They see this the same as encouraging their child to learn an instrument or other skill they might be able to monetize one day. However, there are many troubling aspects to YouTube fame, and the life of a YouTube celebrity is not how many people envision it.
Why Are Kids Drawn to the Life of a YouTuber?
The promise of fame and fortune for nothing more than making videos in their bedroom is far too alluring for many children to resist. However, it isn’t as easy as just uploading enough videos.
To achieve success on YouTube, content creators need to upload high-quality content and engage with their audiences regularly.
Creating and uploading new content on schedule isn’t difficult for the most enthusiastic kids. Filming, editing, and uploading an original video might seem like a monumental task to parents. But for children who have grown up with this technology all their lives, it’s more of a challenge to stop themselves from uploading content too often.
What Are the Potential Dangers of YouTube for Children?
At a glance, parents might think that YouTube is a welcoming community for children where like-minded creators can share their content with one another. But there is a much darker side to it, one that every parent needs to be aware of. Some prominent YouTubers have even taken to cautioning their younger fans against pursuing a career on the platform.
Let’s start with the fact that YouTube comments sections are notorious for the extreme negativity and prejudice on display. Even seemingly harmless videos can generate some surprisingly offensive comments.
When it comes to videos featuring or involving children, the comments sections can be even more concerning. Not only can hateful and vulgar remarks be directed at children, but these comments sections can become a hotbed of cyberbullying.
If your child does manage to achieve serious success on YouTube, this comes with its own set of problems. It is important to make children understand that they only ever see snapshots of YouTubers’ and other influencers’ lives. From these individual snapshots, their existence might seem exceedingly glamorous. But balancing the demands of a loyal audience with the growing demands of their daily lives can be challenging for a child.
Among the concerns that existing YouTube celebrities have raised about children are the high rates of anxiety, depression, and general burnout among their number. Children are particularly vulnerable to exploitation on the platform, especially if the parental supervision is lacking.
Should I Keep My Kids Off YouTube?
Trying to stop your children from using YouTube entirely is all but impossible. Not only is it going to be incredibly difficult for you to police, but children will have no problem accessing the sites through their friends. Of course, in some cases, knowing how to overcome geo-restrictions online can be very useful for those who live in more restricted countries. It can help you and your kids be aware about what’s really happening in the world.
It’s easy to underestimate just how tech-savvy the children of today are. If you try to ban YouTube outright, you will only encourage them to find ways of accessing it behind your back. Many children admit to having YouTube accounts without their parents’ permission or knowledge.
It is much better for you both if you instead focus on educating your child about YouTube. If you know about their account and their platform usage, you can monitor what they do and ensure that they stay safe. If they are using the platform behind your back, you won’t know about any issues until they start bleeding into the rest of their life.
Instead of trying to keep young children off YouTube altogether, it is much more productive to work with them. A YouTube account can encourage your child to be more creative and teach them several useful video editing skills.
Legally, children under 13 require their parents’ permission to create a YouTube account. In reality, we all know that the age verification barriers are ineffective. You should either set up a shared account that you also have access to, or you should regularly check in with your child to see what is going on with their account.
As long as you educate yourself on the potential dangers of YouTube and how it works, you should find it relatively easy to guide your child’s usage.
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