Covid made me do it. Between the quarantining and the stress of…life – I caved and let my son start his own YouTube channel. He’s only 10, but he’s spent the better part of the last three years of his life begging, plotting, and planning for an online place to call his own.
When we shared the news on our Instagram stories, we got a thoughtful mix of reactions. Some celebrated and subscribed, and some shared concern about setting our ten-year-old free in the world of social media. I get it. We have resisted too, because let’s face it, the internet can be a mean place.
Here’s what tipped the scales for us:
- It’s owned and managed by us. His account falls under our account (so I can guarantee you one day, we will click the wrong button and you will see him playing video games instead of our traditional song parodies). He doesn’t have the password, so he can’t upload anything without us seeing it first.
- We disabled comments. While this means he won’t be able to create a real, online community (the best part of all of this if you ask me) we also keep him safe from people intending harm.
- He’s creating content instead of exclusively consuming it. He could spend hours in front of a screen watching other kids play games. Now, he’s learning how to edit and produce videos. We watch everything before he posts, but let him take full “creative control.” For the record, I have no idea what he’s playing or what he’s talking about. But I let him take the lead. He’s already thinking of games and skits he can create and produce.
- He has more respect for our work. After a few hours of failed edit attempts, he came downstairs and proclaimed, “this is really hard.” We got a good laugh then offered some advice and encouragement.
- He is building a business. Money is not his motivation. He is fascinated with the production process. He loves creating something out of nothing. But that being said, one day, he may earn money from “his” channel. We mark each one of his videos as “made for children” so YouTube will limit ads on his videos but still, there may be a few dollars in his account eventually.
Side note: We pay our kids a good portion of the monetization from our videos. In addition, they earn a percentage of the fee from any brand engagement. We joke they are “coin-operated” because they are constantly checking the balance of their savings accounts. That being said, any money he earns from “his” channel, he would get to keep.
It’s a lot of work, and that’s why we will never, ever pressure him to post videos. Even if this is just a phase, he’s loving it now. Right now we’re looking for any reason to smile, and for my kid, it’s a 17-minute video about a game I don’t understand.