My child wants his own YouTube Channel, but I’m not in favor of it. What’s a good response?


My Child Wants His Own YouTube Channel…

On the positive side, your child sounds ready to embrace the medium of our day. With job interviews routinely happening by video, your child must already feel very comfortable on camera and speaking extemporaneously. Those are accomplishments worth applauding.

However, YouTube is not the place for kids. In February of 2019, another major scandal revealed that thousands of pedopiles leave predatory comments on children’s videos and facilitate of ring of perverse activity (for specifics, see this video from 3:21-5:15). Even with adjustments to its algorithm and the addition of 10,000 human moderators, it’s clear that the sheer volume of videos uploaded to its site–450 videos per minute and 2 billion in the library–makes it impossible for YouTube to police inappropriate content and comments. 

Our suggestion is to:

  1. Ask why your child wants his or her own channel, and what types of videos your child wants to make. Understanding the appeal can make it easier to find some middle ground.  
  2. Share YouTube’s current policy: they don’t permit children under 13 to have their own channels, and their Terms of Service even state in Section 12 that any user under the age of 18 must have parental permission. In response to the recent scandal (share details if you think appropriate), YouTube is really cracking down by actively removing channels run by children under 13.
  3. Redirect: what are some good alternatives?
    • Could your child learn to use iMovie and share videos with family and friends through a Shared Album on the iPhone? There is a like and comment feature to facilitate feedback.  
    • Are you open to your child having a private account where videos can only be viewed by people your child invites? YouTube offers a private account option, but before giving the green light, consider:
      • The liking and comment features begins the cycle of external validation and possible feelings of rejection
      • Starting slow–establishing parameters around frequency of uploads and consider turning off the comments feature to begin with (use Our Family Agreement to set guidelines around use)
      • Your child can see other people’s posts, and there’s little you can do to control the content served up to them.
      • The time required for you to actively supervise. See Our Complete Guide to YouTube for instructions for how to ensure your child’s privacy and tips for monitoring. There is also a social media monitoring service, Bark, that will alert you if your child posts anything potentially concerning and will also flag inappropriate comments.  

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