I love YouTube
This doesn’t mean that I am blinkered to the utter rubbish and somewhat inappropriate material that seems to be choking up their servers. I also watch pitifully on whilst my children (10 and 8) come home from school; rather than watch Blue Peter or play with sticks in the garden, they are desperate to see what the ‘YouTuber’ of the moment has posted.
An obvious option is to resist YouTube at all costs, ban it from the home and deny its existence. However, if I did this then my family would lose many wonderful opportunities, like watching a channel called iSurfTribe. We subscribe to this channel which means that we get a notification when a new video is posted. We regularly sit down as a family to enjoy their latest offering from their idyllic setting in Costa Rica. We have learnt about their culture, and some of the language, as well as picking up a plethora of tips for developing our own surfing interests. It need not be surfing; there are many professional vloggers on Youtube who create quality content that can truly be of benefit to all of us. You just have to hunt it out and try not to be distracted by those cute kitten videos that keep popping up on the side bar!
Start a family channel, nurture your children’s interests. Creating their own content develops many key skills. The videos need editing, a story needs to be told and the channel needs some degree of managing: but it can open up the world for you and your children.
It is important that all content is monitored as people can post comments on videos that you post. Clearly, the opportunity to read some unsavoury comments is there. To begin with you can use your channel to store family footage. All videos that my children make and post to our family channel go on unlisted. They share the video link with their friends or family who they want to view the content and it remains unsearchable to the rest of the world. As with everything digital, you need an action plan and you need to stick to it. Go with your child’s interests; YouTube isn’t going away. With the top teen ‘Youtubers’ earning over £100,000 a year vlogging about their interest and hobbies, it is clearly a skill worth developing.
In homage to my family’s favourite channel; their signature sign off…..
Pura Vida and Aloha
Head of Digital Learning at
Dame Bradbury’s School