YouTube Guide (2021): What Parents, Educators, & Students Need to Know

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YouTube Guide (2021): What Parents, Educators, & Students Need to Know

March 11, 2021

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What is YouTube?

  • YouTube is a video sharing website
  • Users can watch endless streams of videos made and shared by other YouTube users, or they can post their own recorded, or live, videos
  • With user comment features, YouTube is a social media platform that allows users to connect with other users around the world
  • Users can access YouTube content through a web browser or through any of the apps for smart devices and popular streaming devices
  • YouTube is owned by Google and makes money through both advertisements on the platform and paid videos like movies and exclusive content

Why should parents care?

  • Students could unintentionally watch inappropriate or dangerous videos because the content is automatically suggested
  • YouTube is user-generated and relies on users to flag videos that violate YouTube's terms of service (for things like violence, nudity, encouraging danger, hate speech, etc.)
  • Students can easily get addicted to watching YouTube videos because there is so much content offered
  • Students can waste a lot of time in the YouTube app and could lose interest in offline activities
  • There are in-app purchases and monthly memberships that students might purchase without realizing the costs

Login or join theSmartSocial.com membership to read more about the dangers and safety tips of YouTube.

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Green Zone

Parents and Teachers: This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Green Zone.
We believe this app is a STARTING POINT for your student, but that you must monitor your student on every app they are on. Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ App Reviews at SmartSocial.com

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Parents and Teachers: Please note this app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Gray Zone.
Parents should participate in these apps with students to keep them safe.
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Red Zone

Parents and Teachers: This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Red Zone. We believe this app is not safe for students to use without adult supervision. Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ App Reviews at SmartSocial.com

Dangerous Social media challenges

Parents and Teachers: This app is listed as a Dangerous Social Media Challenge. Knowing about social media challenges before your teen does can help you keep them safe before an incident occurs. Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ App Reviews at SmartSocial.com

Table of Contents

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It’s the app where you can learn to play guitar, watch funny viral videos, watch other people play popular video games, and perhaps, accidentally see something inappropriate. Creators (aka YouTubers) add new videos to YouTube each day, at an astonishing rate, making it challenging to keep unsuitable content away from kids.

It can be a fantastic source of education and entertainment, but the SmartSocial.com team wants parents to know the potential dangers and how to keep your families safer on YouTube.

Overview video for parents & educators

What is YouTube?

  • YouTube is a video sharing website
  • Users can watch endless streams of videos made and shared by other YouTube users, or they can post their own recorded, or live, videos
  • With user comment features, YouTube is a social media platform that allows users to connect with other users around the world
  • Users can access YouTube content through a web browser or through any of the apps for smart devices and popular streaming devices
  • YouTube is owned by Google and makes money through both advertisements on the platform and paid videos like movies and exclusive content

Parent & educator training video

What we're covering in this video:

  • What is YouTube and where is it available?
  • Why parents should care about YouTube
  • YouTube addiction studies
  • Is YouTube Kids right for you?
  • What can parents do to keep families safer on YouTube
  • What to do about inappropriate content
  • Tips if your teen wants to become a YouTube content creator (aka YouTuber)

Why should parents & educators care?

youtube apps logos
  • Students could unintentionally watch inappropriate or dangerous videos because the content is automatically suggested
  • YouTube is user-generated and relies on users to flag videos that violate YouTube's terms of service (for things like violence, nudity, encouraging danger, hate speech, etc.)
  • Students can easily get addicted to watching YouTube videos because there is so much content offered
  • Students can waste a lot of time in the YouTube app and could lose interest in offline activities
  • There are in-app purchases and monthly memberships that students might purchase without realizing the costs

YouTube by the Numbers

YouTube App Screen shot "Discover News, sports gaminig & music"
  • People spend 1 billion hours each day watching videos on YouTube (website and app)
  • Users upload 500 hours of video every single minute
  • Over a billion people listen to music on YouTube every month (Source)

Who is using YouTube?

  • 74% of adults in the U.S. use YouTube
  • 80% of parents with children 11 and under say their kids watch YouTube
  • YouTube is the world’s second-most visited website after Google.com (Source)

What are the YouTube apps?

  • The YouTube apps let users watch, listen, and share videos and music through five main apps:
  • YouTube
  • YouTube Music
  • YouTube Kids
  • YouTube Studio
  • YouTube TV
  • Google owns YouTube 
  • Content on the app ranges from how-to videos to educational kids videos to mature videos that could include profanity and violence
  • According to YouTube’s Terms of Service, users must be at least 13 years old 
  • When users log into YouTube they get access to channel subscriptions, friends’ activity, and recommendations

Student training video

What we're covering in this video:

10 examples from news clips around the world with real-life examples of how Instagram can be dangerous

YouTube in the News

Interesting Engineering headline: Doctor reveals dangerous content in YouTube kids videos
[A] mother reported a horrifying incident where a YouTube Kids video they were watching was abruptly interrupted by a man in sunglasses who gave instructions on how to harm themselves. Interesting Engineering
Computers in Human Behavior Journal headline: Compulsive YouTube usage: A comparison of use motivation and personality effects
Highlights [from the study]:... Increased compulsive YouTube use results in lower academic motivation. Computers in Human Behavior from Science Direct
The Post headline: Why parental controls won't protect your child online
Pedophiles can easily single a child out on message boards and privately DM them. Your children may know not to post nudes of themselves, but what about them twerking while repeating they are only 14... The Post

Parent & student training video

What we're covering in this video:

  • How popular is YouTube
  • Addiction signs & tips
  • YouTube navigation & tips
  • How to set screen time limits
  • Family tips and settings for watching YouTube
  • Family tips & settings for creating content in YouTube
  • Privacy settings to shine online

YouTube college prep tutorial (Student video)

What we're covering in this course:

  • Why YouTube can be positive for your digital footprint
  • How colleges search for students (and what they want to find)
  • How to improve your search results with YouTube
  • Branding in a positive way for your college and career
  • What to post on YouTube (with examples)

Why do colleges care?

When colleges or employers search for students online, Google will usually display a YouTube link on the first page of results. It’s better if colleges find your real YouTube account, rather than an account that belongs to someone else with a similar name.

Negative YouTube activities

  • Cyberbullying
  • Creating fake accounts of other people
  • Liking or subscribing to inappropriate content
  • Posting negative comments

How to use YouTube in a positive and safe way

  • Establish what kind of content is positive and negative with your parents, before creating your own channel
  • Be respectful when engaging others and block users who aren’t respectful to you
  • Create a video resume and post it to your YouTube channel. Dress professionally and use your accomplishments to tell a story
  • Update your video resume often and put the link of your new video in the description of your old video
  • If you participated in a volunteering program, spent the summer working an internship, or seized a rare opportunity, create a video about your experience
  • Be sure to thank the organization you worked with and share what you learned
  • Find an interest and post videos that tell that story
  • For example: if you want to go to culinary school, create cooking videos
  • Create unique videos and let your personality shine through
  • In the cooking example, you could focus on meals that can be made in 30 minutes or less

YouTube steps for success

  • Set your YouTube username to your real name (to help Google find you).
  • Example: Youtube.com/JoshOchs
  • Link your profile to your Twitter, Instagram and other accounts
  • Add the same clear, square photo of yourself that you use on other networks, so colleges and employers will know that they have found the right account
  • Decide what subject you can teach (cooking, crafts, math, volunteering, language, programming, etc)
  • Have a friend use your phone to record you teaching the subject in a 60-90 second video
  • Edit and upload the video in “unlisted” mode using the free YouTube app on your phone
  • Rename the title of the video to include the subject and your full name.
  • For example: “How to build tic-tac-toe using Javascript by Josh Ochs”
  • Once you get an approval from your parents, make the video “public”
  • Then, when someone searches for your name on Google or YouTube, this video is likely to appear

Parent tips: If your student wants their own YouTube channel

  • Talk as a family about their channel’s messages and themes and why they want to post videos
  • Watch every video they make BEFORE they upload it
  • Limit who can view their videos by setting them to Private or Unlisted until they are prepared to shine online
  • Disable comments on their videos to prevent negative comments and cyberbullying
  • Join the Student Branding Academy to plan and develop a positive online footprint

More YouTube resources

Conclusion

The YouTube app can give students a platform to learn and to shine online by showcasing their personalities and talents. But the YouTube app can also give students a window to watch all kinds of content- good and bad - created by all sorts of people.

If you plan to let your student of any age use the YouTube app to watch or share videos, SmartSocial strongly suggests that you closely monitor what they are watching and how much time they spend on YouTube.

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