Does the thought of letting your kids watch YouTube unsupervised make you nervous? That is why I love YouTube For Kids for my boys.
At first, I was wary of how “selective” the screening process for the videos appearing would be. Here is how YouTube defines the process:
“Our automated systems select content from the broader universe of videos on YouTube. We work hard to exclude content that’s not suitable for kids, but we can’t manually review all videos and no automated system is perfect. If you find something inappropriate, you can block it or report it for fast review.”
1. They Can Learn a New Language (Well Sort of…)
I remember the first time I wandered by my kids watching YouTube For Kids and heard a different language coming out of the iPad. My first thought was to say “you cannot understand that, why are you watching?”
Upon reflection, I realized if they were watching on their own, why stop them? I cannot guarantee that your kids will learn Spanish, French, or Russian by watching. What I can say is that if they were to watch enough, some of it is bound to sink in.
Think about this for a second. They are watching a video where the actions they are seeing are being described. They will hear the words used to describe said action. Isn’t that the best way to learn a new language?
It is also well-known that kids can learn languages faster than adults. With that in mind, let them watch what they watch!
2. It Brings Out Their Creative Side
When my son was 5 he was already making his own videos. Even with my inherit bias I am not afraid to admit that these videos are not going to get tons of views.
What struck me in seeing the videos was how he picked up on common themes in the video. “Make sure to like” and “click that subscribe button” are things you hear all the time. He was sure to include those in his videos.
The more interesting part was that he was telling a story. This story was complete with characters and costumes. I could show you a sample but he would never forgive me for doing that! (Actually, I just included a link but don’t tell him!)
It is my bet that it will not be long until he is creating and posting his own content on YouTube For Kids. I love having that type of creative outlet as part of his daily routine. In a world where kids are separated because of a pandemic, this is a great way for them to express themselves.
3. They Learn Good and Valuable Lessons
One of the things I love about YouTube for kids is that families create many of the videos. You can be of two minds about this:
- They are using their kids to make money
- They are doing a cool family project
You could also look at it as a combination of both. I would hope that parents that create videos with their kids use the money earned to their kid’s benefit.
If you can put that all aside it is great to see families creating together. These are not vacation videos and “hey we got a new dog” videos. There are stories, characters, and plot twists. These are mini-television shows that feature real people.
One of my kid’s favorite channels on YouTube For Kids is The Tannerites. I won’t get too deep into the messages they are providing. Suffice to say it is two parents telling their kids how they value them with the phrase “you are worth it.” A good message for kids to hear.
4. Their Minecraft Skills Will Go Through The Roof
OK, I will admit I am of two minds about this one. My kids love Minecraft! Now I am someone that thinks video games are OK for kids in moderation. My exception to that rule comes in the form of Minecraft.
I still do not let them play all day but at least this is a game that has a mode called “creative”. When they play they are spending their time building and solving problems.
It was not long before they were finding videos about Minecraft. They included walkthroughs, tips, cool features, and the like. This is especially helpful because I have no idea how to play Minecraft!
5. One Great Reason To Love YouTube For Kids: Endlessly Customizable
I am a YouTube user. In fact, I may watch YouTube more than I watch more traditional movies and television. I like it because it is specific: I look for exactly what I want to watch and then watch videos on that subject.
Because I am such a frequent user I have a paid subscription. The benefit here is that it eliminates ads that run before videos.
I can then use that subscription for my kids on YouTube For Kids. With that, they do not see ads either. I would prefer them to see want they want and not see endless ads. I am sure they prefer this as well.
Even if you do not have a subscription you can still customize the experience. You can see I have a login for each of my kids. You can then set up their channels so they see videos appropriate to their age.
They also get their own video history so they are seeing things they have an interest in. I won’t go into all the many ways you can customize so if you need more take a look here.
Is YouTube For Kids For You?
Everything about parenting is about striking a balance. I try to keep pretty good tabs on what my kids are watching on all mediums.
In my experience with YouTube For Kids, I have never come across a video that I found inappropriate. The added bonus, as I have discussed, is that many of the videos offer value to my kids.
I would never suggest your kids spend an entire day on YouTube For Kids. In reasonable doses, this is a great platform that entertains and enlightens kids.