With millions of videos on YouTube, your teenager could sit at the computer for weeks on end watching different video clips. Although there is a lot of positive content on YouTube, there is also a lot of negative content as well. Although YouTube and Google strive to prevent negative content from remaining posted on YouTube, Racist, pornographic, and violent videos sometimes seep through the cracks. As with other sites that allow for interaction between different users, there is always the risk of meeting unsavory or dangerous people online.
Following a few simple guidelines will help keep your children safe while the watch.
Make sure they never give out personal information
Just like with other social networking sites, personal information available to strangers should be kept to a minimum. Teach your children not to post your full name, address, or phone number on YouTube. You never know who will see it online. Also avoid giving out other personal information that could help someone find you, including what high school you attend, your current location, your employment, etc.
Follow the rules
Don’t allow children 12 years old or younger to use YouTube. They can afford to wait a few years more. Although there are many good videos online, a lot of the content is not appropriate for children. Part of your responsibility as a parent is to make sure your children keep the rules of the Internet. Teenagers that are old enough to have a YouTube account should beware what videos they post. Youth should be careful not to reveal personal information in videos. Videos of others should not be posted without their permission.
Flag inappropriate content
In order to view potentially objectionable material on YouTube, users need to have an account and be 18 or older. As mentioned earlier, racist and pornographic content are forbidden, but your definition of pornography might be different than your neighbor’s. Users who come across bad content can (and should) flag it so that it can be eliminated if necessary. Sometimes the video itself isn’t disagreeable, but the comments below are. Teach your child to flag inappropriate videos and comments. The search settings can be changed to limit the objectionable content available. (Note, mere disagreement with the view being promoted is not grounds for flagging the video.)
Interactions with others
Teenagers should be careful when interacting with people they don’t know. Make sure your children know never to agree to meet someone in person that the met on YouTube. Teenagers should never talk about sex with a stranger on the Internet. Teach your kids to talk to you or another trusted adult if they are being mistreated online or feel unsafe. If another user is harassing your child, they should use their privacy settings to block them.
YouTube can be educational, interactive, and fun. Playing it safe will keep it that way!
About the Author
Derek Gurr is a writer for MyCollegesandCareers.com. My Colleges and Careers helps people determine if an online education is right for them and helps them search for online degrees that can help them reach their goals.
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