Things have changed for little ones born in the 2010s. Now, young kids are just a few buttons away at any moment from unlimited streaming of video content.
You may be shocked to see how quickly young children will get the hang of using phones or tablets to find videos they enjoy.
Depending on how much screen time you allow your kids, you may find they become more adept with these devices than you are in just a few weeks.
60 minutes or less of daily screen time is recommended for 2 to 5-year-old children
With such a wealth of videos available at their fingertips, it’s more important than ever for parents to know exactly what their kids are watching and to make sure they aren’t watching anything too mature for their young eyes.
In this article, we’ll examine some strategies that may help 21st-century parents keep their kids watching positive video content online. We’ll even look at a few video channels you might want to check out.
Caution on Content
The very same platform where millions of parents send their children to watch fun music videos can also host disturbing and violent content from any number of independent creators.
Sites like YouTube have incredibly loose guidelines about profanity, violence, and disturbing content.
Even when a video violates their content guidelines, it can take days or weeks for the video to be removed.
Before you allow your child to venture on to sites like these, you must learn how they work and decide how you want your child to use them.
Know Your Platform
For starters, YouTube recently decided to create an app for its curated kids’ platform. You’ll need to find and download the YouTube Kids app separately to have access to a suite of parental controls over your child’s content.
The controls suite gives you a lot of options, but I strongly recommend that you set up a system where your child is only allowed to watch videos you’ve approved in advance.
This will enable you to stick with content you know and approve of to help prevent your children from wandering online.
On both the YouTube app and the YouTube Kids platform, the system will load a random, related video for your child when the one they’re watching finishes playing (unless you’ve specifically adjusted your settings or parental controls to prevent this).
That means not only is your child continually being fed new videos but that the series of videos they see is determined by the YouTube system, potentially with no regard for the age of the current user.
A Not So Funny Story
Not too long ago, a friend of mine used the vanilla YouTube app to play a music video for her three-year-old son.
She wasn’t thinking and left the phone in her son’s hand for 15 minutes. In that time frame, YouTube had quickly jumped from kids videos to graphic recaps of horror movies! This was a favorite of the mother, who was the primary user of the phone.
This kind of switch happens much faster than you’d think! So keep an eye on your kids and always check their viewing history to see if anything unwanted has slipped in.
Popular Children’s Channels
It’s important to try to pre-approve all the videos your children are allowed to watch. You might ask yourself, what are some channels you can look for to find great content?
I prefer to focus on creators of educational content, and on folks who have a non-profit background (meaning that they won’t have any reason to inundate your children with hidden advertisements, as many children’s channels will do).
Here are a few to check out! Click on each title for a direct link to their YouTube channel.
The mission of Super WHY! is to help get children excited about reading books specifically for children between the ages of 3 to 6.
These story time adventures take place behind your library’s bookshelves with all of our favorite storybook characters!
There are a bunch of great collections of PBS content online, and this one has videos specifically for young learners.
Help your children become familiar with new word and picture associations to help improve their spelling and vocabulary.
Your child can watch Daniel, a 4-year-old tiger, learn the skills needed for school all while having fun with his neighborhood friends!
Sesame Street hasn’t changed; they’ve just gone online! Your kids can enjoy all the same characters you did only now it is easily found on YouTube.
These lessons encourage lifelong learning through different workshops and sing along songs
Some of their content skews a bit towards older children, but there is a ton of great information about animals, and that’s always a big hit!
Each day of the week, there is a new video for the daily theme. For example, Science Monday or Weird But True Wednesday.
The characters of this show travel all over the world, exploring different countries learning about architecture, music, and various types of art. This is an excellent show for children that are a bit artistic or have a creative mind. Although I feel most children are!
Always Make Sure to Monitor Tech Time
These are all great places to look for videos your kids will love. But remember that your stewardship of your children’s online time is not something you can just set and forget.
Make sure to monitor their activity and to check in on any channels you allow from time to time. Kids have the opportunity to learn a lot from these videos! However, it’s your job to make sure they’re learning the right lessons.