CHILDLINE ADVICE: Helping to keep children safe when they’re using YouTube

This week, we’re discussing one of the most visited websites in the world.

Monday, 2nd August 2021, 12:00 am
Our Childline counsellors know how much the online world means to children, and how upsetting some aspects of it can be.

Since its creation in 2005, YouTube has become the second most used social media platform after Facebook with over 500 hours of video uploaded every minute, and more than a billion hours of video viewed daily.

Those figures are staggering, as is its popularity amongst our children. Our Childline counsellors know how much the online world means to children, and how upsetting some aspects of it can be.

They watch vloggers, unboxings, gaming and how-to videos, and some aspire to a YouTubing career, so there’s a chance you’ll soon be asked ‘can I set up a YouTube account?’.

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The site stipulates nobody under 13 can start an account, and under-17s must have parental permission. Every child is different, so it’s a decision you’ll need to consider carefully.

Remember, not all YouTube content is suitable for children, so if your child just wants to view videos on YouTube, there are settings like ‘Restricted Mode’ that can help, and you should talk to your child about what they’re watching. There’s also a Child Safety page sharing information on what YouTube does to try and keep children safe on the site.

But what if they want to make and share their own videos? Making videos is a great way to learn new digital skills, improve writing and storyboarding abilities, and promotes creativity and critical thinking, but there are risks.

Children could share personal information in their videos which could be inappropriate, and it could lead to them becoming less inhibited, sharing videos which could be overly-revealing or even offensive. There’s also a chance they could feel pressured into creating more and different content to keep up with trends led by adult influencers.

You could agree with your child that you should view any videos they create before they upload them, and have a conversation with them if they’re feeling under pressure.

If you’re looking for more advice, the NSPCC and O2 have created www.net-aware.org.uk which has information on YouTube and many other apps to help you make the right decision and keep your children safer online.