So, You(Tube) Too?
Want a surefire way to start a melt down for most children? Deny their YouTube time. We’ve all been there. You’re busy, the phone is ringing and the kids are refusing to eat. It’s all too easy to pass your little one a phone or tablet and plug them into Kids Youtube.
“I will never forget the first time my son said the “s” word, writes Holly Homer from www.kidsactivityblog
No, it’s probably not the four-letter word you’re thinking of.
I mean S-T-U-P-I-D. That’s not a word that we allow in our house. So I was shocked to hear it come out of his mouth. I immediately asked him where he had heard that word before. Nope, it wasn’t from a friend at school. It was from one of the YouTube channels he idolized.”
So what to do? With the launch of distance learning, online educational platforms offered a host of new and improved features. The use of social media apps such as Instagram, YouTube and Tiktok also skyrocketed, with YouTube garnering a whopping 300 billion new views in the first quarter of 2020 and rising from there.
With the world of education forced into lockdown learning, children have become experts in the use of social media and online based learning. And it’s no wonder kids find YouTube so entertaining, with new content just a click away.
And while YouTube Kid s, Google’s specially curated app designed for YouTube’s youngest fans, offers a colorful, easy-to-navigate environment, a wide range of high-quality videos, a few parental controls, and fun features for kids, it's been dogged by concerns over its advertising, branded content, and inappropriate clips slipping through the curation process.
No need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. With a host of useful and educational information available on YouTube, it just takes a few boundaries and general information to ensure your child’s safety with online media exposure.
HOW TO CONTROL YOUR CHILD’S YOUTUBE USE:
1. Set boundaries. Allotted timeslots for viewing, with content pre-determined and previously viewed.
2. Don’t get carried away. Use the features YouTube offers to challenge your children into learning something new. There are a host of tutorial videos available on YouTube for your child to watch and learn from.
3. Be vigilant. Even if your child is using Kids YouTube, ensure the videos loaded have been agreed upon, and you are nearby to observe or listen to what your child is watching.
4. When and Where: Make it clear to your child that there’s a time and a place for YouTube. Using it as a filler or distraction, especially in young children, can seriously impact their focus and concentration.
5. Select a day and create a “Social Media Free” family zone. Tablets, phones and laptops get put and mute while you and your child explore other ways of enjoying free time, like:
ALTERNATIVE ACTIVITIES FOR YOUTUBE
1. Make a Bouncy Ball with this easy recipe from https://www.the36thavenue.com/how-to-make-a-bouncy-ball/
2. Love That Literacy. Check out dozens of free children’s books at http://www.magickeys.com/books/. The stories are divided into three categories for younger, middle school and teenaged children.
3. Audio not Visual. The less screen time your child is exposed to, the better. That doesn’t mean you have to go draconian and throw out their electronics. Why not hone their talents by creating audio stories? There are plenty of free voice recording apps with fun voice changers, sound effects and music, guaranteed to make your impromptu audio book a hoot.
4. Listen to Classic Audio Books. For a reasonable subscription on to Scribd.com, you can access hundreds of timeless children’s classics, like this heartwarming series by Laura Ingles Wilder. https://www.googleadservices.com/pagead/aclk?sa=L&ai=DChcSEwjWrdWMvt_uAhXOMysKHSvICSsYABAAGgJzZg&ae=2&ohost=www.google.com&cid=CAASEuRoBzPNKXANQezBsf3DJU8d9A&sig=AOD64_3ln9utFZ1fJ1kz9Do514bqh2nafg&q&adurl&ved=2ahUKEwi1vsKMvt_uAhXSbn0KHeRYDsAQ0Qx6BAgEEAE&dct=1
5.Rubics Cubes: Yep, those (frustrating) color coded squares go far beyond covering fine motor skills. They also help improve your memory, problem solving skills, speed, finger dexterity and agility. Join in with your child and work together to improve your patience skills- we all need them.
When it comes to children and technology, the answer isn’t to keep them from it—it’s to make them aware of the potential dangers of online usage, implement struture and balance, and encouraging them to use their YouTube time as a creator, not a consumer.