“My child wants to start a YouTube channel…” It’s an email we get a lot at Parentology, and there’s a legit reason for parental concern because it’s not about simply having a channel — it’s about becoming a YouTuber or influencer. Here’s the lowdown on the good, the bad, and what parents need to know.
What Is YouTuber?
A YouTube channel allows users to have an online public presence for anyone who wants to watch. People use their YouTube accounts to start their own free channels to upload videos, make playlists, and comment on just about anything.
Why Does My Child Want to Start a YouTube Channel?
There are many different reasons. Some may be looking for fame, while others hear about all the money they can make for shooting videos about themselves and their hobbies. Some also think having their own YouTube channel is a great way to share ideas or meet new online friends from around the world.
Although YouTube prohibits kids under 13 from having their own accounts, many have risen to stardom with their own channels through their parents’ accounts. Kid influencers have shown they’re a force to be reckoned with, not only with the number of subscribers they have but also with their yearly income.
Take “Ryan Toys Review,” which has more than nine million subscribers, and helped seven-year-old Ryan Kaji make 22 million dollars in 2018 alone. Some kids watch channels like this and want to recreate them, but not every child who has their own YouTube channel has this type of success. Indeed, in recent years YouTube has pulled back on the revenue it pays out to YouTubers, meaning your child will need an incredibly large social following in order to make that kind of money.
Is It a Good Idea?
That depends on you, your child’s maturity level, and what you’re comfortable with them putting out in public.
Common Sense Media advises that if a child is using an adult’s account, that the parents should be doing all video uploading. This gives parents control of what’s being made public. There’s also an option to make videos private so only the people you invite to see your videos have access.
It’s also suggested you talk to your kids about the content. Ask what types of things they want to feature. This is also the time when you should be talking about what’s appropriate and inappropriate to post online. If you don’t like the direction your child is heading, you need to discuss with them why you think it’s inappropriate and possibly reconsider letting them have a channel.
If your child is over 13 and decides to start their own YouTube channel with your permission, you can become a subscriber, as well as monitor content and comments behind the scenes. You should definitely have account access to the channel and open conversations with your child about what’s happening with it.
Common Sense Media also suggests doing a beta launch where you let a select group of friends and family see the channel. They can provide feedback and help make tweaks to the channel to avoid any unnecessary criticism and comments.
It’s extremely important to teach your child or teenager to handle harsh feedback. We all know people can be brutal when they comment online. Knowing how to deal with those kinds of criticisms is vital.
Ultimately, communication between you and the child is key. If you decide it’s okay for them to have a YouTube channel, have an open conversation and set the ground rules before your kids start recording and uploading their content. This can help prevent potential issues down the line.