There are countless social media platforms out there, but among kids, video-based social media is a clear favorite. And while there are a variety of video-sharing sites available, YouTube is by far the most popular. But is it safe for your teen? There are a lot of fun, informative, and educational videos on the site, but it also has a dark side. Take a look at the potential dangers of YouTube for teens, and find out how you can protect your child.
What Can Your Teen Find on YouTube?
Do you know what your teen chooses to watch when they go onto YouTube? Much of the content probably seems harmless–music videos are always popular, as are reviews of other media like television shows, movies, and games.
However, your teen can also find stolen content, pornographic content, hate speech and propaganda, and other explicit material that you probably wouldn’t like for them to see. Sometimes the makers of these videos tag them in a way that ensures they come up during otherwise innocuous searches, making them easy to find even when you’re not looking for them. Some content creators are also notoriously profane, which can turn otherwise harmless content, like gaming videos, into an experience that you would prefer your teen avoid. There are also videos that start out seemingly harmless but have the offensive content buried in the middle of the video, so watching the first few minutes isn’t always enough.
What Can Your Teen Post on YouTube?
Perhaps more dangerous than any content that exists on the site is content that your teen could post to YouTube themselves without your knowledge. The platform encourages users to make and share their content. While this can be a great creative outlet, it can also put teens at risk.
Under pressure from peers or in a moment of impulsiveness, it’s easy for teens to share videos that reveal private or embarrassing information, making them targets for bullies, online harassers, and predators. And like any other type of internet content, there’s always a chance that a video could go viral, opening your teen up for even more potentially negative attention.
How Can You Protect Your Teen?
It’s important to be familiar with the content that your teen views on YouTube. Research the creators that your teen likes to view–find out whether they’re known for posting offensive content. Watch some of the videos yourself to see if you think they’re appropriate for your teen. You can also turn on safety mode by scrolling down to the bottom of the YouTube homepage–this won’t block all offensive content, but it will minimize it.
Your teen’s YouTube account, or the family account that your teen uses, should be set so that any videos uploaded are private. Later, your teen can always share them individually, by adding specific individuals to their Google circles, or you can review the video and determine if you think it’s appropriate to post publicly. Make sure to talk to your children about the content they share and about how important it is that they not post anything they wouldn’t want certain people to see.
Parental monitoring software can help you oversee and manage your child’s YouTube behavior so that you can ensure that they’re watching appropriate videos and posting safely. To find out how it works, get our free trial.