YouTube, owned by Google, is a free video and social network service that is used by people of all ages. Videos of all categories can be found there, whether it is for education, entertainment or inspiration. For many teenagers, YouTube has become a replacement for regular cable. It’s has become the goto place to look up their favorite singers and music videos. YouTube is constantly growing. The latest statistics show that 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. Among all the great information available, there is also inappropriate videos.

As a parent, it’s important that you understand that there are two aspects of YouTube:

  1. The consumer side, or watching side.
  2. The upload and sharing side.

YouTube has a specific help section created for parents that can be found here.

The best way to understand how YouTube works is to use it. You don’t have to create an account to start watching videos; however, if you wanted to upload or share videos, a Google account is needed.

When browsing on the YouTube website, pay attention to the different areas available. Specifically the section where users can post comments about videos. The comment section elevates YouTube to a social networking site similar to Facebook or Instagram. Make sure your child understands what it means to be a good social media citizen.

There is a safety mode option available. You can find it at the very bottom of the page at It’s not 100 per cent accurate, but once it’s enabled it will help filter out some of the more objectionable content.  There’s more information about how to enable the safety mode right here.

  • Do not post information about where you go to school, your age, your name, or any other identifying information.
  • To make use of YouTube’s privacy features. You can easily set personal videos to “private” or “unlisted” and share a video’s URL with select people.  A private video can only be seen by up to 50 other people whom are invited to view the video. And it won’t appear on a users’ channel or in search results or playlists, and will be invisible to other users.
  • To consider a totally anonymous account, with no identifying information in relation to the username (first/last), place of residence, or gender. Studies have shown that women with more “female-oriented” user names are confronted with a lot more harassment. For example, think about what your daughter may be setting herself up for if her screen name was CuteGal96.
  • Make sure your daughter always heed the “school or family rule.” What would the principal or grandma say if she saw this video?

Have you daughter ask herself these questions before posting:

  • What does my video say about me? How might I appear to someone who doesn’t know me?
  • Could this video embarrass me or anyone in it, now or a few years from now.
  • Can other people be recognized in this video? Have I asked their permission before posting this online?
  • If I’ve included music, do I have permission from the artist or have I used music that is in the public domain?

Your media represents you. That probably seems obvious, but remember it can keep on representing you well into the future, because content posted online or with phones is pretty impossible to take back. So it’s a good idea to think about how what you post now will reflect on you down the line. If you think it might hurt a job prospect, damage a relationship or upset your grandmother, consider not sharing it.

Manage your visibility. Videos can’t be tagged.

Consider the whole image. What’s in the background of a video could indicate where it was taken or what the people in it were doing at the time. Is that information you want to convey?

Your media could show up anywhere. YouTube videos can be embedded in any website, and it’s important to remember that anything digital can be copied and shared by others. So even if you limit the audience, be careful not to share anything that could be a problem if someone were to pass it around.

Use a strong password, and don’t share it. This gives you some control over how you’re represented in social media because other people won’t be able to use your password to impersonate you.

You can delete your posts. If you ever want to delete one of your own pictures or videos, just click on the three dots in the lower right corner under it (see screenshot) and select Delete. That menu also lets you share or email your post. But if you’re sharing media on Facebook, Twitter or other services, deleting from Instagram doesn’t delete them elsewhere.

Be picky about who you share with. Instead of sharing a video with all your followers, you can select who can see it. You can easily set personal videos to “private” or “unlisted” and share a video’s URL with select people.

Flag problematic comments. You can report other people’s inappropriate photos, videos or comments—or users who violate YouTube’s community guidelines.

Privacy and safety settings: YouTube has a range of tools and settings help users manage their experience on the site. To learn more about the the resources that are available to your daughter please visit the privacy and safety settings page.

If an account is established with the intent of bullying or harassing another person or if a photo or comment is intended to bully or harass someone, please report it. You can also learn what to do if you think someone is pretending to be you or someone else on YouTube.

Once you’ve reported the abuse, consider blocking the person.

Learn how to report other accounts or posts that don’t follow YouTube’s Community Guidelines.

  • Follow my daughter on YouTube. Take a look at what your daughter is posting on her channel.
  • Peek at her videos and leave comments (if they are enabled) on the ones I really like to encourage those creative efforts and keep the juices flowing.
  • Check the comments on her videos every once in awhile and see who’s following who.
  • Chat about the activity on her account every once in awhile together. e.g. “Did you see that great video that your friend Laur234a posted?”
  • Check out her favorites and which YouTube channels she is subscribed to. Favorites and subscriptions can give you clues about what she are watching on the site.
Respect other people’s privacy. If someone else is in a video you post, make sure that person’s OK with your sharing or tagging them in it.

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