YouTube stars are taking over the world! But how can you tell the difference from the Super Heroes, the villains and all the weird and wonderful things in between? As your friendly neighbourhood YouTuber, Josie Lamb knows that it’s not always easy! She shares her tips for protecting your kids and navigating the myriad content on YouTube for kids.
On my channel “JosieWose” I provide fun and educational content for children. Mostly I read storybooks aloud which is great for language development, but I would like to create a wider variety of work. I like to keep it wholesome because let’s face it we need more of that! Recently YouTube landed itself in hot water because some creators were using the platform to distribute wildly inappropriate, disturbing and sometimes violent content. As a result, many channels were shut down and YouTube have updated their policies to protect children from this content. But what can parents do to protect their children?
Know what your children are watching
It sounds simple, but do you know who your kids favourite YouTubers are? Ask them, I’m sure they’ll be able to tell you. A few years ago I was face painting at an event and a 6 year old asked me to paint the name of her favourite YouTuber on her forehead! I was a little surprised but now that I’m a YouTuber I understand the passion is real! Very real. As a YouTube creator I have over 2 million views and can tell that most of my views are from tablets and phones which are much harder for parents to monitor than the traditional television. So make an effort and check what your children are watching.
Follow your favourite channels
If there’s something your child likes, go to the channel homepage, check out the rest of their videos and if you’re happy with what they produce subscribe so their new videos will pop up for your child to watch. Did you know many of your children’s favourite entertainers, such as The Wiggles, are on YouTube? Mainstream shows are now putting their content on YouTube so subscribe and you’ll know what they are watching. Subscribers also help YouTubers like me in lots of ways; like understanding my audience and encouraging viewers to watch the next video I post.
Use the YouTube Kids app
YouTube kids offers a safer YouTube experience and whilst it would be impossible for YouTube to manually review every video posted, the algorithms make it a much safer option. It also has helpful safety options like parental controls.
Encourage your little ones to get up and move
Devices such and mobile phones and tablets might seem like a miracle to avoid a tantrum but be mindful. The topic of screen time is hot among researchers but The Australian Government Department of Health recommends no screen time for children under 2 years, less than 1 hour per day for children aged 2-5 years and less than 2 hours per day for children aged 6-12. Most children (and adults!) spend way more time watching screens than recommended so encourage children to be physically active every day. Go for a walk, bike ride, do some craft or cooking to change it up. Even incorporate some physical activity into their YouTube time like doing Cosmic Kids Yoga!
Be selective about what your kids are watching
There is not much research into the difference between educational and non-educational screen time and often it’s hard to tell them apart. There’s nothing wrong with watching a dancing animated chicken but find some other alternatives too. On my YouTube Channel JosieWose I read storybooks aloud, which is important for language development so “thumbs up and subscribe for more videos like this!”
A “Move, Shaker and Creator” Josie has entertained thousands of children on the stage and screen. Josie has had an illustrious career as an actor, presenter, singer and dancer, including managing her own business Joloola Entertainment and through her YouTube Channel “JosieWose”. Josie continues her study in the fields of psychology and education.