YouTube from a Child’s Perspective

R’s little boy is four or five years old, and although he cannot fully read or write, he uses the Internet, mainly to surf YouTube. His main interest is the Beatles, and he looks up all kinds of performances by the Beatles and so forth, using the “related videos” section to look at even more videos of the Beatles.

Since his parents do not own a TV, the boy looks on YouTube to find videos of the books he reads. R says that he is different from her in that he “expects some sort of corresponding media to books.” She also noted that her son thinks that videos are only ten minutes long. (With the exception of certain organizations, regular users are limited to short videos)

Regarding “bad” content on YouTube, R is concerned more about children’s content that is dubbed over, than explicit content in itself. In other words, she is worried about swear words that are mashed with a Winnie the Pooh video rather than porn videos. (I suppose her son is a bit too young to be concerned about porn yet, thank god…) She told me that it was funny how Beatles videos would mostly be very faithful in posting the “real” audio, but that childrens’ animations rather carried more “bad” audio. She said that her son was watching the Polish version of Winnie the Pooh (of course, he didn’t understand it) but that she sensed that some words were swear words and asked her friend to watch the video (and the video turned out to be full of swear words).

I suppose that it is more difficult to “regulate” bad audio that is put together with innocent videos. It’s unfortunate, however, that some of that bad audio is put together with children’s videos, which children may unknowingly watch. That said, I’d rather have my son watching Disney DVDs rather than sufing YouTube- at the age of four, parents’ control of media shouldn’t be so bad.


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