Must Read for Parents with Daughters on YouTube

With young YouTubers seemingly everywhere from their own YouTube channels to The Ellen Show to Dancing with the Stars, it’s not surprising that many kids are looking to Youtube with an entrepreneurial eye.  At my recent talk “How to Empower A Great Girlpreneur” a parent in the audience shared that she was hesitant to give her 14 year old daughter the green light to create a YouTube Channel.

To help this mom and all the other parents grappling with this question I reached out to family safety Internet advocate, Sue Scheff.  Sue is a nationally recognized author who has been featured on ABC 20/20, Dr. Phil, Anderson Cooper, Katie Couric, Rachel Ray, BBC, Fox News, LifetimeTV, and more.

I’m very excited to share this guide to YouTube for girls with you:

Bright Girls:  Can you start by sharing YouTube’s official underage policy?

Sue Scheff:  Children under the age of 13 are not permitted to set up a YouTube account. Here is a link to their terms of service and  Teen Safety Center for more information.

Now that we have the legality of it behind us, let’s talk reality.

According to research by Kidsay, tweens (kids ages 8-11) number one website is YouTube. This report also found that 93% of tweens use YouTube and 69% claim to have an account.  Does this make it right?

No. What message are we sending to our kids if we are allowing them to set-up an account that clearly states they need to be age-appropriate? Tumblr is another site that also outlines this age requirement with excellent clarity.

So we have both YouTube and Tumblr letting tweens know that until they are 13 years-old, there are other great sites for them to be on (designed with their age in mind) — but their platform is not intended for them to join.

Safety is always a priority. It’s not always about your child’s maturity or responsibility level as a tween — it’s about what they may stumble upon that others are posting on YouTube or other social media platforms with age restrictions. In reality, sometimes a tween can be better behaved than a fifty year-old, but do you want to risk your tween being lured by that fifty year-old? It also can be about the ability to handle the online harassment that comes with some of these forums. There are good reasons for age restrictions – it’s not about just locking the kids out.

If you’re a parent and have a tween that is anxious to put her video online, be a mentor for her. She can post on your account, with your supervision and guidance. It’s important that you are there for her – again, this is a virtual playground that can have potential risks if not used with care.

Bright Girls: What are the dangers (if any) of girls age 13+ creating a Youtube channel and posting videos? 

Sue Scheff:  I don’t believe in fear-mongering tactics, as much as helping your teens understand the potential risks they have.

1) Online predators are real. Know how to block and report YouTube users if they are harassing you or leaving ugly comments.

2) Content is key. There is never any excuse for a teen to be posting any sexual content or using profanity in a video. You put yourself at a higher risk for encouraging Internet predators.

3) As with all social media platforms, your digital footprint is your future. What you post today, will be a reflection for your future. Don’t allow your peers to talk you into a video post you’re not comfortable with.

4) Privacy matters – constantly. Keep in mind, your privacy settings can frequently change without notice and can be different on each device. Make it a habit to check them and secure them frequently.

Bright Girls: Are there any different issues in allowing girls younger than 13 to post videos? (in addition to breaking Youtube rules)

Sue Scheff: As research has confirmed, there are kids under 13 on YouTube. What parents should encourage, if they have a tween that is anxious to create a video for entrepreneurial purposes, having them use the parent’s YouTube account while the parent is with them, under their guidance and supervision. Again, using age appropriate content.

Bright Girls: Does the content of the videos increase or decrease risk?  For example is something like crafting or doing make-up and/or hair instructional videos different from doing bathing suit fashion shows.

There are ways to display age appropriate wardrobe, make-up or hair design in a cute and artsy way without being seductive. A perfect example is twin teens Brooklyn and Bailey of Cutegirlshairstyles.com.  I met them at a conference last year. They have a huge following for hairstyles and also have a YouTube channel on clothing. Their Instagram is tremendous too!  They keep it clean, fun and exciting!

When girls start exposing body parts or even referencing them, they are putting themselves at risk of encouraging unsavory viewers as well as comments. Does sex sell? Maybe, but your daughter isn’t selling it. A recent study among young adult women (18-19 years-old) revealed that 1 out of 4 experienced sexual online harassment.  Teaching our children early to be respectful of themselves both online and offline, is imperative.

Bright Girls: If a parent is going to allow their daughter to post videos, what tips would you give them?

Be your authentic self! People know when you aren’t being sincere and only trying to get LIKEs or thumbs up. You have to be passionate when you are online as you should be offline.

My best tips are the 3-E’s of Social Media on YouTube:

  • Engage:  Humanize yourself with your audience. Get them interested within the first minute.
  • Educate: Teach your viewers what your product/service is and why you are the expert with it.
  • Empathize: Be genuine about why your product/service will make a difference in their life. You sincerely care about making a difference.

Bright Girls: Does having a Youtube account make it any easier for someone to find the physical location of the girl than if she didn’t have the youtube account?

Yes.  Parents can go to their daughter’s YouTube page, click on her name/channel and find out what contact information she is exposing.

Youtube is part of Google.  If she has a Google Plus page (personal) it can have as much info as she wants to put out there. Her Youtube “Channel” can be linked to her Google Plus page, and if she has personal info out there, it can be found. Check Google Plus for her name to see what information (if any), is being revealed online.

Be sure your girls aren’t oversharing their private information.

I want to thank Sue for her incredibly clear and helpful insights.  As a mom of a tween girl myself I am so excited about this post, I look forward to hearing your thoughts and any additional questions!

Do you have an aspiring girlpreneur in your life?  Bright Girls is here to develop the skills she needs in a fun and engaging way.  Get our book today!

Category: Business Ideas & Tips, Girlpreneurs

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