Know Where They Go: YouTube Basics for Parents

If you can hear your kids hysterically laughing in another room, chances are they—and their friends—are watching videos on YouTube. The numbers are staggering: Over 4 billion YouTube videos are viewed a day, which is about “500 years of YouTube video” each day, according to YouTube.


What’s the big deal? Well, everything if you are between the ages of 12-18. Kids are searching for memes (popular viral videos), music, funny crashes, stunts, people, or mishaps, celebrities, and how-to videos. They are also searching for sex and porn, according to YouTube’s top 10 stats. The goal: entertainment and to be first (coolest) to discover and share new content.

No parents, you are not imagining things: The digital gap between parents and teens is growing at an alarming rate. One way to begin closing that gap is to travel the roads your kids travel online; get in the game so you can talk shop with them and keep them safe. Know the routes, the shortcuts, and the detours.

Here are a few YouTube basics to get you plugged in:

  1. Age limits. To create a YouTube account, users must be at least 13 yrs old.
  2. Block porn. Worried about inappropriate content? Google has a security filter in YouTube that if turned on, will hide objectionable videos from the site. However, this option isn’t 100% foolproof that nothing inappropriate will stream into your home. Safe Eyes can do that.
  3. Know what and where to report: If you see a video or comment that is inappropriate or incites bullying, report it to YouTube.
  4. Check viewing habits. There are a couple of ways to check in to see what content your children are viewing. Check your kids’ viewing history (if they haven’t cleared it). To see viewing history, visit your child’s account page (via the Account link located at the top-right of every page). Click the History link from within the “My Videos” section.
  5. Address issues immediately. If your kids post questionable items, or comment inappropriately, speak with your kids or teens directly about editing or removing videos, comments, or profile information.
  6. Read through the Safety Center. Check out the YouTube Safety Center for anything and everything related to safety. This is a video environment. There are things to consider in communicating.
  7. Create your own account. Create your account, your channel, customize it, and upload your first video. Then subscribe, comment, and share. YouTube is a social network—the second most popular in the world. You might create a daily word of wisdom, a professional promotion, or maybe a video diary. For information on setting up your account go to the YouTube Help Center. It’s quick and easy. 
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