Have you been on YouTube this week? Chances are you have, and chances are even higher that your child has. In 2019, YouTube reported 2 billion monthly active users. There are 500 hours of YouTube content uploaded every minute. Given YouTube’s mass appeal, it’s no wonder that three-quarters of Gen Z and Millennials surveyed stated “YouTuber” as their desired career. It’s hard to fault them when the top 10 YouTube channels between June 2017 and June 2018 earned $180.5 billion. YouTube has become a part of childhood, with 81% of parents allowing their children aged 11 or younger access to the site.
But is YouTube safe for kids? Like most social media; it can be with some preplanning, conversation and caution.
YouTube and COPPA – What Does it Mean For Parents?
At the start of 2020, in compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which protects children against data collection, YouTube began requiring creators to categorize their videos as “for children” or not. When a video or channel is categorized as “for children” certain features for that video or channel are restricted. Among those restricted features are: removal of the comments feature and live chat options and removal of personalized advertising among other things. While the new policy protects your children from data collection practices, it does not limit what they can search for and view which is why it is important to have an understanding of the most popular types of videos on YouTube and the people who are creating them.
Tips for Using YouTube With Your Children
There are billions of videos on YouTube, and more are uploaded every day. Helping your child navigate these endless choices is overwhelming. In Kid Matter’s four-part YouTube blog series we will share with you The 7 Most Popular Types of YouTube Videos, 9 YouTubers Parents Need to Know About, The Best YouTubers for Preschool-Aged Kids, and The Best YouTubers for Elementary Aged Kids, to help you help your children make smart viewing choices.
The 7 Most Popular Types of YouTube Videos and Who’s Making Them
1. Unboxing – In these videos, the creators unbox or open toys, gadgets, fashion and make-up items among other things and narrate the process. In many of the most popular toy unboxing videos, the viewer will only see the unboxer’s hands and hear their voice. It’s important to note that these videos typically do not provide you with the pros and cons of the item being promoted which, in essence, makes them one long commercial.
- Noted YouTuber: Ryan’s World – Formerly Ryan’s Toy Review, this YouTube channel began in 2015 when Ryan Kaji, and his parents began filming unboxing videos. The channel has changed over the years with its increasing popularity (it even prompted a spin-off TV show) and now includes skits and personal vlog-style videos along with the unboxing videos that made it famous.
2. Gaming – These videos vary from tutorials, reaction videos and “let’s play” videos which show the screenshot of the creator playing a game and providing commentary while they do so. While there are child appropriate YouTube gaming channels, many of them contain strong language and mature content.
- Noted YouTuber: PewDiePie – Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg is a Swedish YouTuber known online as PewDiePie. From 2013-2019 his YouTube channel was the most subscribed to channel. He achieved initial YouTube success in the gaming genre playing mostly horror and action games. His videos include inappropriate language, racist comments and mature content.
3. Educational – Divided into three categories (primary and secondary education, university learning, and lifelong learning), there is something for everyone in this genre. Whether you’re looking to brush up on physics, learn a new language, or just help your child learn their colors, there’s an educational YouTube channel to help you.
- Noted YouTuber: ChuChu TV Nursery Rhymes & Kids Songs – While there is nothing groundbreaking about this YouTube channel, the bright colors, classic songs, and basic skills featured here make it a popular choice for parents and kids. With 31.3 million subscribers it ranked as the most popular YouTube channel for kids in January of 2020.
4. Comedy/Skit – The comedy/skit genre of YouTube runs the gamut from harmless to offensive. Within this genre, you’ll find skit comedies, stand up comedians, parodies, and silly animal videos. Simply searching for comedy and skit videos on YouTube will yield some risqué results. In Kid Matter’s upcoming blogs, The Best YouTubers for Preschool-Aged Kids and The Best YouTubers for Elementary Aged Kids, we’ll provide you with some kid-appropriate content to share with your child.
- Noted YouTuber: NigaHiga – Ryan Higa, known online as NigaHiga started his YouTube career lip-syncing songs in 2006 while still in high school. His YouTube channel has exploded in popularity and held the title of the most subscribed channel on YouTube for 677 consecutive days. Teens love him for his hysterical parodies but parents encourage caution due to his occasional mature language and content.
5. Challenge – In challenge videos creators film themselves completing a challenge. Many of these challenge videos are silly and would even be a great way to bond with your child (Water Bottle Flip Challenge and Chubby Bunny Fun Challenge), but some are gross (Smoothie Challenge), and others are dangerous (Cinnamon Challenge).
- Noted YouTuber: 123 Go! Challenge – This challenge only channel’s videos have over 300 million views. They cover all the trending challenges and create original entertaining challenges as well.
6. Vlogs – Vlogs are visual logs. Think of them as a visual journal of the vlogger’s life. Vlog’s are typically short videos filmed either all in one shot or edited together to tell a story about an adventure, a day, or an idea from that vlogger’s life. Discovering which vlogs are and are not appropriate for your child can take hours of research. In our blogs, The Best YouTubers for Preschool-Aged Kids and The Best YouTubers for Elementary Aged Kids, we’ll help you identify a few of the best for your child.
7. How-To – Who amongst us hasn’t watched a How-To video on YouTube? You can learn anything from how to replace your hot water heater to how to make an origami swan. Kids and teens are getting in on the how-to action as well, showing viewers how to: make crafts, bake cupcakes, and even solve math problems.
- Noted YouTuber: CharlisCraftyKitchen – Charli and Ashlee Kelly are the YouTube stars behind CharlisCraftyKitchen. In 2015 and 2016 their channel was nominated for a Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award. The girls make easy to follow kid-friendly recipes that might just inspire you to get into the kitchen with your kids.
One way for parents to keep a pulse on what’s trending on YouTube is to go to YouTube’s Trending page. According to YouTube this page is updated every 15 minutes and is designed to show the user what’s happening in the world.
Our goal with this blog series is to sift through the billions of videos on YouTube, giving you the information, you need to help your child make smart decisions online. For more information or to consult us about your child’s online habits contact us.
Jessica Korzyniewski contributed to this article.
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