I’m pretty sure we all discovered Youtube when we saw the video of the little boy who bit his older brothers finger – Charlie Bit My Finger – at least, that’s when I discovered it.
Should Your Child Have Their Own Youtube Channel? What are the pros and cons of a child having their own youtube channel?
Growing up with Youtube
Our children are literally growing up watching videos on Youtube. They’re watching videos about make-up, the latest fashion trends, workout videos, watching Stampy play Minecraft, or the multitude of Lego Stop Motion videos.
At least that’s what my kids are watching.
I will admit, I do love YouTube. I probably enjoy the same videos that you watch – DIY, recipes, cleaning and organizational videos, etc. And of course, I love watching all of the silly animals videos too.
Over the years YouTube has become our go-to for just about everything. Got a clogged sink drain? Search YouTube. Want to make your very own lip balm? Just search YouTube. Want to have a beautifully decorated home? Search YouTube. I’m sure you get the idea. You can even watch videos on how to make your very own wedding cake! The possibilities are ENDLESS!
What I love most about Youtube is that we can learn from others from around the World. But, some of the stuff on Youtube is just _________ (I’ll let you fill in the blank!)
Mama, Can I have my OWN channel!?
My daughter asked if she could start a channel when she was 13 yrs old. We, of course, asked why and what her channel would be about. She wanted a beauty/fashion channel. I can’t even imagine how many children ask their parents (nowadays) if they can have their own YouTube channel. It’s such a common conversation that so many parents are having, that most of us don’t even know what to say other than NO! How do you even get started? Is it safe? What about all the internet trolls?! And the big question that we all think about when it comes to the safety of our children on the internet. WHAT ABOUT THE CREEPERS?! How would we keep our daughter safe from them?
Like many of you, my first reaction was no. I wanted to keep her sheltered from all of the horrible and mean comments that people could say or the thought of some creep pretending to be a 13-year-old girl kept clouding my mind with horrible thoughts.
After countless hours/days of begging, we eventually gave in… please tell me I’m not the only parent that caves after countless hours of begging (depending on the circumstances, that is)?! Hearing “MAMA, MAMA, MAMA, can I?” just drives me bonkers!
However, we only said yes because we’re tech-savvy and are familiar with the ins and outs of the interwebs… At least I like to think so.
We bought everything she would need for her new channel: editing software, the camera, a green screen kit, microphone and bought her a Macbook Air laptop. We set up her channel and in exchange asked her to set up her very first business plan. We asked her to come up with a plan for how she was going to maintain a channel with school, sports, horses, and of course her always growing social life. We asked about her goals, short-term and long-term. She presented us with her plan – we approved, and away she went! She was off making her first video!
She made several videos and was having a blast filming and editing. One of her videos even hit over 5,000 views after a few days! Hmmm – it’s working! Her self-esteem was boosted, she was learning how to take quality photos/videos, learning how to edit and just being super creative by thinking outside the box. I monitored all of her social media, deleted the mean comments before she could see them (literally only 2 comments) and my husband and I supported her any way that we could. As parents, that’s our job, we must be supportive no matter what! We can’t discourage our children from dreaming big!
After about 6 months, my daughter decided she didn’t have time for Youtube anymore and deleted her growing channel. She had a growing subscriber base and the views were picking up steam. And just like that, her channel was gone like it didn’t even exist.
A little over 2 years ago when my son was 7 yrs old he started asking if he too could have his own YouTube channel.
Here we go again!
As with some of your kids, he fell in love with watching Minecraft videos. He would spend many hours each week watching other people play video games. He would tell us that he is an excellent Minecrafter and could be just like Stampy or The Diamond Minecart. Again, I’m sure you’ve had the same exact conversation with your kid(s) – they all watch these videos of people playing video games, or playing with toys, and giving toy reviews. They want to do it too! And why not? Why can’t they? What’s stopping them?
We asked our son to set-up a business plan for how he was going to maintain YouTube, with school, swim, and well, just being a kid. He gave us his plan.. side note: it was the cutest biz plan you’ve ever seen!
Conveniently enough – we already had all the equipment needed to have a channel. Although, we did end up buying him his own computer, headset, external hard drive, USB flash drive, USB hub, a larger SD Card for his camera, a larger monitor for his computer and a bigger desk. He started out making Minecraft videos and wasn’t getting the traction that he was hoping for and decided to pivot to Lego Stop Motion in 2016. His favorite past-time is playing with his Legos, so the switch made sense; do what you love, right?!
Managing his Youtube Channel
This has become a bit of a full-time job for me. Our son does all of the heavy work: story lines, building sets, making and editing the videos, graphics, audio, etc. However, I help manage his social media accounts such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. We sit down together when he responds to his comments and nothing is posted by a fan or by halobombtrooper without my say so.
What we’ve learned
Our World is heading, well… it’s already there… into being completely taken over by technology. Sadly, our children will need to know the ins and outs of how all technology works at a very young age. Most schools in our area all have iPads or some kind of tablet instead of notebooks and pencils. Kids are learning how to type before they learn cursive handwriting. My son can type like a pro as if he has been doing it for years and years and that’s because he has; we started teaching him when he was 2 years old.
Should your child have a youtube channel
Even after having 2 kids with channels. I still can’t say “YES 100% – it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread!”
I think it’s a personal choice for each individual family. You need to way out the pros and cons for you and your family.
But, what I can tell you is our experience with youtube
What my 9-year-old has learned from having his own channel:
- He can plan and map out each video – storyline, content, jokes, music, voiceovers
- Take 1,000+ photos of his legos
- Upload the photos to his computer (putting them into a labeled folder); he is very organized
- Turn those photos into a stop motion video
- Edit using professional editing software
- Download audio or create his own voiceovers
- Make graphics using software, canva.com or pic monkey for his thumbnails, videos, channel art… etc..
- Knows how to navigate YouTube and other social media outlets
- Knows how to use tags
- Knows how to make an advertisement
He is more confident, he gets super excited to create a new video (he just lights up), he has a fantastic sense of direction for where he wants to take his videos/channels (he can plan ahead for months in advance…this is a critical life skill!). He found a way to take 2 things that he loves Legos and YouTube and turned it into something we are all incredibly proud of.
Pros and Cons
- Your child will learn a lot – you will also learn a lot
- It’s a great bonding experience
- It’s fun
- Teaches a lot about tech
- Teaches patience
- They get to use their imagination in a different way
- They learn about analytics – introduced to the world of analytics and how to measure their work. Which can set them up for a lot of future career paths.
- It’s a way into entrepreneurship – teaches them how to run their own business
- They learn how to be independent learners – our son will research topics, tools, and software to better his experience.
- He is in continuous self-improvement mode
- Seeing how happy he gets when one of his videos get a lot of likes or views is priceless
- Big self-esteem booster
- Teaches how to interact with other people on YouTube and on social media outlets
- You meet a lot of cool people
- Make friends with someone on the other side of the World
- New and interesting way to play with toys
- Builds a great work ethic
- Teaches time management skills
- Start up fees can be expensive (buying equipment, software, etc)
- Can be time-consuming
- Can be lonely for your child if you don’t do it together
- Self-esteem can go downhill if not properly managed (because of lack of views, likes, subs)
- Privacy could become an issue if not managed
- Might take away from other activities
- Could get teased or bullied at school (depends on how children at school react to the news that your child has a channel)
- They could end up hiding in their bedrooms 24/7 – if not monitored
- They are exposed to YouTube – which means they have all sorts of content available to them
- They end up spending a lot of time in front of screens
- They could end up with a lack of exercise if not managed
- Bad posture could end up forming if not managed (because of too much screen time)
Overall, YouTube has been a Pro for us
Personally, for our family, YouTube has been a pro for us. Our kids have learned so much and have just blossomed overall. If you’re interested in checking out my son’s channels – here are the links to Halobombtrooper and Halobombtrooper Gaming.
Let me know in the comments below if your child has a channel or is thinking about having one. I’d love to discuss any and all aspects of your experience!