Teens and YouTube – Nothing to Worry About?

A research study making the rounds today highlights an example of how parents can get lulled into a false sense of security over their teens’ internet and social media use.

Results are out for a report from the Pew Research Center titled “Teens, Social Media and Privacy”. Not surprisingly, teen use of social media is rising.

We encourage parents of teens to take a look at the report linked above, and we’ll be covering some of the more important points in the coming weeks. One thing that immediately surprised us was the statistic that at the end of 2012, only 7% of teens have a YouTube account, up from 6% in 2011.

If your teen doesn’t have a YouTube account, are you in the clear? Not so fast. When we talk to parents and teens about safe and responsible internet use, we focus on the three Cs: inappropriate contact, conduct and content. With respect to YouTube:

Inappropriate Contact – people, even predators, do not typically go to YouTube to meet people, so this should not be a great concern.

Inappropriate Conduct – the comments section under some YouTube videos are a real cesspool of foul language and inappropriate opinions and comments, many of a racial or sexual nature. If you teen doesn’t have an account, she will not be allowed to post videos or comments, but will be able to view others’.

Inappropriate Content – While YouTube prohibits some content, such as pornography, sexually explicit material, animal abuse, drug abuse and underage drinking, it contains a lot of content that most parents would deem unacceptable. Even without having a YouTube account, your teen can watch anything she wants.

Based on our experience, the percentage of teen internet users that view YouTube videos is much closer to 100% than 7%.  Just because your teen doesn’t have an account, doesn’t mean you’re in the clear.


Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring teen internet activity.

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