Can my 8 year old have a YouTube channel?

Father: „We have three daughters aged 7, 8 and 9. The middle one has wanted a vlogging camera and a YouTube channel for several years now. Also, she wants to have a million followers and become famous. “She thinks big, and we are proud of that. There are also risks involved, because not everyone is equally sympathetic to the internet. She is now allowed on the app TikTok, the successor of musical.ly with a profile in private mode.

“My wife thinks she’s too young for a YouTube channel. I think she can, provided we discuss her posts and the responses she gets with her. So let’s learn by experience. What is responsible in this situation?”

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In a closed circle

Dian de Vries: “Usually I put the concerns of parents about the online traffic of children into perspective, but in this case I say: wait a little longer with a public YouTube account. An 8-year-old does not yet have the media literacy and social skills to know what can and cannot be done. And the videos will remain online forever. Even as she gets older, your daughter continues to face her 8-year-old self; especially teenagers don’t like that at all. Moreover, we see in research that the youngest children receive negative reactions online more often than children who are a bit older.

“If you do give permission, keep a close eye on it. Make good agreements about what she will and will not put online, including about the rest of the family. There are two other young children in the house. And in any case, turn off the comments under the videos.

“Learning to make and share videos is great fun, a child can practice those skills in a playful way. But keep it private until high school, so only among friends and family. And after that, keep a finger on the pulse of what she posts publicly on YouTube.”

Delay

Patti Valkenburg: “Becoming a YouTuber is one of the most sought-after careers among children and teens ages 6 to 17. Research shows that one in three children and teens want such a career. The main motivation is to become rich and famous. That doesn’t work for everyone, of course, and that’s why it’s essential to manage expectations from the start.

“Being a YouTuber or a vlogger has its upsides. Children enjoy it and practice skills such as filming and presenting themselves. They also build networks. But there are also pitfalls, also for parents. With a child of 8 you have to watch, and perhaps also filter reactions. And knowing or helping with what she posts on her channel. That takes a lot of time.

“If a child gets negative reactions, or is disappointed with the likes and views, there is a chance that parents will also care. If you don’t have that time to be so closely involved, I wouldn’t start it or put it off until she’s a little older.

“If your daughter is allowed to start vlogging, there are a number of things to discuss. What image does she pursue? How do you deal with your child’s privacy, and that of yourself and others in and outside the family?

„If you haven’t seen it yet: the documentary My daughter the Vlogger (VPRO) gives an honest picture of child vloggers and the involvement of parents.”