No YouTube Allowed
That headline causes my children stress. They say, “Really, Mom, no YouTube? None at all?” I say, “No, YouTube.” In our home, YouTube causes more stress and frustration for me as a parent than any benefit received from it. Any value that might be found on YouTube is far outweighed by the dangers.
Do you ever wonder why your children are so fascinated with YouTube videos? What is interesting about watching someone else pay a video game and tell you how to play? Wouldn’t it be more fun to play the game yourself and learn how to beat it, not let someone else show you?
If I allowed my 2 oldest children (9 years old and 11 years old), they would sit and watch YouTube all day long. YouTube videos had become their favorite way to pass the time. I finally decided YouTube had to stop!
4 Reasons We Don’t Allow YouTube
When You Complete a YouTube Video, Additional Videos are Offered. Many Suggested Videos Are Not Appropriate.
It always seems to start like this, my son starts watching YouTube to figure out how to get to the next level in his video game. In the first video, he learns how to fix the problem, but then he just wants to keep watching. At the end of every video, there are always 5-10 more videos on a similar topic or just some random topic you can watch. Jumping from video to video becomes an addiction.
The more your child jumps from video to video usually the more inappropriate the content and the further away from the original question they go. It’s just one deep rabbit trail you don’t want your child to follow.
Unfortunately, even if you start on a learning video like how to solve an algebra problem, when the algebra video ends you will be offered more videos to watch and you do not know what you will be offered, but it’s unlikely they will all be more math tutorials.
My children are not spending their time watching education videos on YouTube all day. The videos they want to watch offer little in value and do not add to their learning experiences. If not monitored, children will quickly find inappropriate content on YouTube even by accident.
Too Many YouTube Videos Contain Inappropriate Language and Content
Sadly, many of the videos found on YouTube contain inappropriate language and content. As a mom, it’s frustrating that the young people (who appear to be 20ish) and know their videos are popular with tween and teen aged children include comments with inappropriate references, too much cursing and too many words children should not hear.
It’s not just that my children might hear a curse word on a YouTube video that concerns me, the context in which the words are used can be excessively vulgar and in no way appropriate for children, tweens, teens, and even adults in most cases. The vulgar language found on YouTube videos is inappropriate and should not be tolerated.
Children Lack the Discernment to Decide the Right Videos to Watch
Tweens and teens are still learning and developing their understanding of right and wrong. As parents, we have to provide them a safe environment and not let them be exposed to inappropriate content. We are to guide them and help them recognize good content and why they must avoid bad content.
We teach them what is right as they grow so that when they are adults, they will have developed the skills to discern right from wrong. Children are not born with an internal instinct telling them what is right. As they grow, we instill our values and morals to guide them when they are grown.
Children Seem to Become Addicted to Watching YouTube
If left on their own, my children would watch YouTube videos all day long (and probably all night too). Just one video right after another until the battery on the iTouch or Kindle dies. Then, they would try to go get a charger and just keep on watching.
Children are easily addicted to watching YouTube videos. We must remember that our children have been born into a world that doesn’t remember a day without a cell phone, tablet, and the internet. They don’t understand what life is like disconnected (a dead battery means they are disconnected and it’s a crisis!).
Think of it like this, you may have grown up watching MTV and other music videos on television, but your children don’t know a world not watching videos from the small device held in their hand. Many of them start playing on their parents phones before they are a 1-year-old. What a difference. You can’t take a television with you everywhere you go, but you can take most tablets and electronic devices with you in your pocket, purse or bookbag.
It’s Time to Say No to YouTube
YouTubers create these videos because they get an audience and people watch them. We need to just say “no”. If the video creators on YouTube are creating inappropriate and unacceptable content, we must stop giving them an audience and most importantly ensure our children are not exposed to these videos.
To restrict YouTube in our home, I have set restrictions on all tablets and Kindles so that they do not allow access to YouTube. I also set restrictions to remove inappropriate content, but the only filter that seems works for YouTube is to completely remove the option to access YouTube. I also removed all YouTube apps from any device in our home. Removing or disabling internet apps like Google or Safari would be another option.
Additionally, I have considered adding software that will limit content and access to the Internet, but those programs and apps are expensive with monthly or annual fees. These options may be necessary in the future.
No YouTube, Now What?
If we don’t allow our children to watch YouTube (or any other videos you feel are inappropriate), we should give them alternates of good and appropriate videos they can watch. You could give them apps with shows you have approved. Maybe a Disney app or Nickelodeon app that allows them to watch shows.
You could also encourage them not to watch videos on electronic devices (small screens are probably not good for eyes that are still developing). Reading books is a great replacement for watching videos.
When we take things away, we have to be prepared with alternatives. Our children may not like what we offer, we probably did not like what our parents offered us as alternatives to what we wanted to do. Our children can also be encouraged to play with creative toys like Legos or do art projects like drawing, coloring or painting.
Of course, there’s always good old-fashioned playing outside. There is a whole world to explore, study and understand. Why not get out and take a look? As parents, we can help by planning activities on the weekends and during school breaks that get our children out of the house and away from electronics.
Mom, what if…
My children seem to be masters of coming up with “what if” questions? Do your children ask “what if” questions?
What if all my friends are watching a funny YouTube video? I teach my children to say no thanks, I don’t watch any YouTube videos.
What if my teacher tells me to watch a YouTube video to help with my math homework? I tell my children I will write the teacher a note and explain my position on YouTube (besides, children have been educated for more than 2,000 years without YouTube I think we can find alternates to YouTube for education). There are acceptable websites that just share educational information that don’t require YouTube.
What if my friends laugh at me because I don’t watch YouTube? Hopefully, your friends will not make fun of you for making a decision to do right. When we do things because they are right, some people will not understand.
I am not saying all YouTube videos are bad or inappropriate. In our home, we have decided there are too many inappropriate videos mixed with the few good videos and we don’t want our children exposed to the bad and inappropriate content continually seen on YouTube. Until content improves and becomes more appropriate for children, we have banned YouTube from our home.
How do you handle YouTube in your home? Do you restrict the content your children are allowed to watch on the internet? Why or Why not?
Photo credit: Jill Levenhagen