Oct 27, 2018
by editorial team
Watching YouTube videos has become a huge part of our lives.
Some children and adults even aspire to create their own content online. In fact, according to one survey, 75% of children want to become YouTube vloggers themselves! Online child stars (like the child in EvanTube, one of YouTube's biggest and highest-earning users) inspire people of all ages to start creating content for online.
While fame and recognition can be a great motivator for some, there are also downsides of being a vlogger.
If you or your child are interested in becoming a vlogger, it is important for you to understand risks and benefits in sharing one's life online.
Key restrictions to be aware of are that users of YouTube should be at least over the age of 13. People should be aware that Google, the parent company of YouTube, collects and markets user data.
And while the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) of 1998, a United States federal law, protects persons or entities under U.S. jurisdiction about children under 13 years old from the online collection of personal information, it's not illegal for kids under 13 to create social media profiles. For those under 13, online accounts are legal if the parent of the child user approves the kid's account even after being aware that user data is collected.
If parents are comfortable with personal information on the child being collected, then the other risks and benefits below should also be considered.
There are many benefits to being a vlogger. Three are highlighted below.
1. Nurture Creativity and Self-Expression
Creating content online can be fun. For children, it can help your child explore interests, and discover who they really are. In some ways, it’s no different than going to an art class after school, especially because vlogging is not just about holding up the camera and pressing “record.”
Editing, producing, and marketing the vlogs themselves involve a lot of creative work. The "script" and "performance" skills can help with public speaking and presentations. Learning the basics of graphic design, and audio/video editing can also be useful.
These aspects of vlogging facilitate discovery—by adults and children—of identifying what they enjoy and don't enjoy. It also helps prepare vloggers for future experiences: presentations, or visually creative careers.
2. Build Confidence
Vlogging can be a great confidence booster.
Many (all?) of us, including children, can feel isolated sometimes.
Having a vlog channel can help people, including children, feel more connected to others, and receive positive feedback in return. Reading comments from peers, saying “oh yeah, I feel this way, too!” might help children and adults accept, and feel more confident about, themselves. For children, however, they may also be more sensitive to negative feedback, which is highly likely since the Internet is full of it.
3. Learn Financial Responsibility
There are financial incentives for vloggers.
If a vlogger consistently gets enough views and subscribers, YouTube will let you become a “YouTube Partner” and earn money by running ads on your videos. Children can also get sponsorships from their favorite brands in exchange for talking about their products.
These types of financial opportunities can teach your child about the value of money as well as the hard work involved in making it.
Keep in mind: most vloggers do not make millions. They work very hard (and stick to a very strict upload schedule) to pay their bills.
To earn money as a vlogger, one has to develop a very strong work ethic. For children, this can provoke more valuable conversations, and offer great experiences in dealing with money: budgeting, saving, investing, etc.
There are many risks to being a vlogger. Four are below.
1. Reliance on External Feedback
While vlogging might help build one’s confidence, it can also make one even more reliant on positive external feedback.
Being disappointed by the number of likes, shares, and views received can be hard for people of any age. But it can be harder for children.
YouTube fame is fickle, and it's impossible to predict which content will become popular. So this will most certainly become a challenge that children producing on YouTube will also face.
2. Receiving Negative Feedback
The internet is also full of negativity, which is hard for people of all ages. Children may be less equipped to deal with how much more harsh online negativity may be, as well as the potential volume of negative comments.
One possible benefit is that learning to cope with constructive feedback can be ripe with lessons that can serve them well in the future.
3. Pressure to Create Controversial Content
Vlogging can also attract pressure (or incentives) to create controversial or even dangerous content (to get more views).
This includes offensive images in their videos, expressing controversial opinions, or even doing something outright dangerous just for content that may be more "popular."
There’s no telling where the pressure to get more views and likes might take your child. It's helpful to have conversations about these things from the beginning.
4. Disclosure of Personal Information
While experts widely agree that your address and other personal information should not be given out online, your child can sometimes do so without meaning to while vlogging.
For example, even if your child does not show the outside of your house in the vlogs, that does not mean you are safe. It is entirely possible for someone to piece together its location if your child has vlogged bits and pieces of their commute to school in different videos before.
This is why drawing very clear lines between what can be shown on your child’s vlog, and what cannot, is extremely important.
Vlogging offers both benefits and risks for people of all ages. However, children have unique risks and parents should very seriously consider their child's emotional, developmental, and safety risks.
Vlogging can be a great creative outlet for children and adults. If a parent is comfortable with their child vlogging, it's important that you stay very involved, and maintain an open, frequent dialogue with your child about the content created and information shared.
An important aspect of that dialogue is discussing the underlying motivations behind wanting to become a vlogger, and making sure their entire self-worth is not tied to the recognition they receive online. Discussing addictive tendencies that also accompany online activity is important.
In addition, radiation exposures from the technology required to vlog should be considered. If you would like to learn more about simple steps to reduce your radiation exposures from technology, check out our Ultimate 21 Day Digital Detox program. It is meant to empower you with helpful tips for living with technology with more balance and healthy boundaries (without going offline completely)!
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