Let my kid upload gaming videos to YouTube?
December 18, 2012 7:30 PM   Subscribe

Should I let my 10 year old upload gaming videos to YouTube? What issues should I think about as part of this?

My ten year old son is into his PS Vita. He saved up the money to buy it himself. He loves watching videos on YouTube made by this guy Cobanermani456.

My son has borrowed my phone and made a few videos of himself playing different games. You can't see his face or hear his name or anything like that; you can see only the screen and hear his narration. But I'm not sure if I want him engaged fully in the world of YouTube.

So, if we do this, what should I do and what should I be thinking about?
posted by bluedaisy to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I can't seem to find a problem with it. I think it's kind of cool your kid is into this (creating YouTube content is not something our son, same age, has thought about).

YouTube allows you a lot of control over what can be posted by other YouTube members. You'll want to make sure that all account activity is forwarded by email to your account, and you'll want to also have the password, and check up on what's happening. My guess is nothing bad will happen.

You can turn off comments, or allow comments to be posted after reviewing them first. You can allow ratings, or not.

Your son is already active on YouTube, so he's already been exposed to the worst of it. If you monitor the account closely, and set out some ground rules (no sharing or publishing any private information, no email contact with other users, you as parent will review everything) you should be fine.

You should also caution your son about bad things to look out for, and you should also try to address the issue of trust.

I upload stuff to YouTube on behalf of clients all the time, and there is not a lot of commenting, if any, so you are probably going to be okay.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:49 PM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

One of my friends lets his son (a couple of years younger) upload YouTube videos, but they're unlisted. They can only be accessed if someone has the link to them. (My friend then shares these on Facebook and encourages us to like, comment and share them.) That may be a good compromise (I'm assuming you can set the account so that's the default).

As he gets older, I'd assume he'd find a way to do this without you, so it's better that you're involved from the get-go. I think being connected to people online can be a positive thing but I also don't see a problem easing him into it and being observant and careful.
posted by darksong at 8:07 PM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: We're quite unusual in the way in which we allow out daughter to consume media in that she's more likely to be able to watch Yogscast than be allowed near a Taylor Swift video but even we decided on no when she asked if she could upload her own videos*.

In discussing the steps we would take if we were to allow her to make her own Let's Play Minecraft series we realised it was about what it would take to make us feel less worried than in any sort of rational "keep her away from the crazies and the bigots" goal. The ultimate reason we decided on no was because "some people are just horrible" was not a conversation we felt comfortable with, which may say more about us rather than her but you know, we are the grown ups.

The basic premise I would have been happy with was.

No identifying information whatsoever.
New account made with a fake name and even a VPN connection to upload.
We kept the login information and access was supervised.
Anything posted to the page is vetted by us first.

We also thought about turning off commenting completely and making it about the process of making the videos rather than attempting to garner feedback, but I think the interaction was a big part of the appeal.

It felt paranoid and was certainly overkill for a child who is effectively a tiny gender-flipped Louis CK but making ourselves feel comfortable was important to us in that it would not create an environment where our discomfort soured the experience for her.

I'm assuming some time in the next year or two we will change our mind and even now I kind of regret saying no, but ultimately there's no rush.

* which was sad because there are few things funnier than a nine-year-old ragequitting in a storm of profanity because a creeper took out her copy of Falling Water.
posted by fullerine at 8:18 PM on December 18, 2012 [3 favorites]

For what it is worth, at some point, my brother's <13 yo son entered his true birthday into Gmail and ended up having the gmail account he's had for most of his life automatically locked and deleted.
posted by Good Brain at 9:07 PM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

As Good Brain indicated, you'll have to keep at least your son's age hidden from Google. If they can verify the user is under 13, they'll axe the account, no appeals.

Personally I would leave comments off. One of the best things I ever did was to turn off comments. Even moderated comments were a pain. Sure it's great when you get a positive one, but one negative one is a day ruiner. (See the bottom third of this comic.)

Consider hooking him up with an account at DIY.org. It's made for kids, lets them upload and share videos, and everything is watched by adults, including comments. Not only to make sure no one's being a jerk, but to keep out identifying information. And he can put his gaming skills to good use.
posted by Ookseer at 9:39 PM on December 18, 2012

Best answer: My daughter is about that age, and while she doesn't have a YouTube account (yet), she's active on other sites where she can freely interact with users, etc. I suspect that YouTube will be coming in the next few weeks, because of some magical Giftmas gifts I hear are coming.

There were two big things that we talked about before letting her loose on any site, and that we plan to re-emphasize before letting her on the YouTubes. The first was that sometimes, people are horrible. Not because of her, but because of them--because they're sad, or they're angry, or whatever, and an invisible person on the internet feels like a safe place to express those feelings. Comments, especially negative ones, are rarely about her and more often about the person posting them--if they say you're stupid, what they're afraid of is that they're stupid. Etc. We told her that on almost every service on the internet, there's a way to block people who are being mean to you, and if she can't figure out how to do it on your own, she should come tell me and I'll show her how. We also made it clear that she would never be held responsible (by us) for what other people said or did, and if anyone made her uncomfortable, at all, she should tell us right away so that we could help her make them stop, even if she was afraid that she'd somehow provoked them or deserved it.

The other thing we talked about was that because this is the internet, no one knows how old you are, which is both awesome and horrible. We made it clear that if she gives people reason to think that she's under thirteen, those people will have the power to get her account deleted, so it's on her to act responsible and grown-up. She understands that if she acts like a grownup, she'll be accorded the (internet-related) privileges of one; if she starts behaving in questionable or risky ways, those privileges will be taken away.

Obviously this depends at least in part on the child's maturity, but for us, at least, so far so good.
posted by MeghanC at 9:48 PM on December 18, 2012 [6 favorites]

Best answer: My 11 year old daughter and her friend have been making Minecraft videos for about 6 months. When she first approached me with the idea, I balked. And like fullerine said, I think that was all about me and my projections about what might be possible rather than what was likely. So after talking to her friend's parent (as well as setting guidelines: no identifying information, guidelines for interacting online, etc.), I let her go for it.

My biggest fear: youtube comments (if not the internet's cesspool, then an overflow reservoir at least). But their whole reason for posting the videos was to get views and comments. So I held my breath and let them go. And you know what - they haven't received any negative comments. All of their viewers are other kids making Lets Play Minecraft videos. There is a weird kinship among preteen gamers which seems to be incredibly respectful and friendly.

You have to do what you're comfortable with, and my response would a hell of a lot different had she asked if she could lipsync Friday in her underwear.
posted by lilnublet at 9:54 PM on December 18, 2012 [7 favorites]

Oh yeah, my daughter's original account got deleted much in the way that Good Brain described, so the youtube account is connected to a dead end account representing their video channel rather than any given person
posted by lilnublet at 9:56 PM on December 18, 2012

Best answer: The gaming video community on YouTube is generally quite supportive and positive, though it does have the issues with misogyny and homophobia etc. I'd allow the videos to be uploaded, but I'd want to watch them first to make sure they were properly representative of the moral code you want your child to have, e.g. if there's inappropriate narration, the video would need to be redone.

This is in addition to the reality that no video provider is going to touch a confessed child or tween's videos with a ten metre cattle prod. So if you want these things to stay online, you'll have to create a shadow account under your own name -- also taking responsibility for them -- in order to post them reliably.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:11 AM on December 19, 2012

Best answer: I would actually support this. I would make a YouTube account under your name, and have it password protected so he will have to go through you to post anything. You can enforce the rules and guidelines and make them very clear to him every time he wants to post something. This way, when he's old enough to figure out that he can create his own account, he'll know what's appropriate to post.

I mean, if he really wants to post videos, he will find a way. And it's not like posting online videos are going away anytime soon. It's better to train him now and supervise his activities, so you can help him learn the guidelines of protecting his privacy. Because, when he turns 12 or 13, he will have a mind of his own, and will find ways to do what he wants to do behind your back, unsupervised.

The guidelines that you teach him will actually stay with him much longer than telling your kid not to do something. I say this based on experience because as a kid, I listened more to my parent's guidelines on using the internet ("Make sure you always use an alias! Never give out your address"), rather than their direct enforcements ("don't go to chatrooms!").

With guidelines, it felt really good that my parents trusted me enough to perform certain activities, so I always abided by their guidelines and advice. However, with enforcements, I truly never understood or learned from them because I could find counter-examples for every reason they had to enforce. Arguments with my parents always ended up with me accusing them of not trusting me to do said forbidden activity. In the end, I would still end up doing these forbidden things, but behind their backs, and I didn't really learn the guidelines that were necessary to protect my privacy in these forbidden situations, because I was never told.
posted by nikkorizz at 5:16 AM on December 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

Don't let him log in to the account, moderate comments. Make sure it's clearly stated somewhere on your page that you are uploading the videos for him, and that it's not your son's personal account. Think about letting him upload his own videos when he's like 15 or 16.
posted by empath at 9:01 AM on December 19, 2012

Response by poster: We set up a YouTube account (also a Google account; I couldn't see any way to create a YouTube account that wasn't a Google account) for my son, and he's uploaded a few videos. So far so good. Thanks for all the input, which helped me think through all the various issues.
posted by bluedaisy at 12:16 PM on January 6, 2013

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