My daughter wants to be on YouTube. Really, really wants to be on YouTube. Not watching videos, but starring in them. The problem is that she’s 6 years old.
She is a moderate YouTube user – mostly Rainbow Loom how-to videos and Katy Perry music – and we have her access pretty well locked down. She uses a family Google account, not her own, Safety Mode search is turned on (preventing her from finding age-inappropriate videos) and comments are hidden. We have had no problems with her YouTube browsing so far.
When she heard recently that one of my teen boys was thinking about making a YouTube video, the idea that it was possible really grabbed her, and she has asked me daily since then if she could make her own (with my help, of course). Her desire to be featured in her own video seems natural enough. It’s a medium she enjoys, she’s into singing, acting and dance, and not in the least bit shy.
So, we’ve ensured that her YouTube browsing is safe. What other factors should we consider when it comes to posting an online video of her?
Predator risk – Even if we do not disclose her full name or location (we won’t) there is a remote chance that a predator will find the video and work hard to try and contact her. Since she does not have her own YouTube account and video comments are hidden, the risk is remote.
Addiction – That is probably too strong a word, but if making videos becomes an all-consuming interest, that will not be healthy, or good for her school work or other activities.
Future embarrassment – Once you put something online, it can be there to stay. There’s a good chance that something she posts proudly at 6 will be something that embarrasses her when she is older.
Narcissism – If she is only posting a video to show off, or to boost her own ego, that is probably not healthy.
Gateway to other behaviors – Deep down, I don’t want her to see at this young age how easy it is to post a video. It could lead her to try posting pictures or video to other sites that I don’t know about or am not monitoring.
There are a couple of interesting positives in this, if we do it. First, if she is making YouTube videos, she is in a pretty good place – making/doing something is better than watching something. Second, computer skills are increasingly important in school and in the work place. The earlier children learn positive online skills, the better prepared they will be for the future.
What do you think? Please feel free to leave a comment below.
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