Enlightening Trips for Parents through Youtube

…But as I soon learned, YouTube field trips require adult chaperons. In fact, parents would be wise to pre-search and “visit” the video clips before they bring their children along. While YouTube has become a popular and fascinating destination for many of today’s tech-savvy parents, finding video appropriate for children is tricky business.

A few weeks later, emboldened by online hummingbird watching, I asked my daughters if they wanted to see some animal videos on the kitchen computer while I finished cooking dinner. Their request? “Kittens and puppies.” The first few videos that popped up seemed harmless enough — short clips of cute kittens tumbling around on someone’s carpet. I went back to chopping tomatoes. Suddenly I heard some explicit adult lyrics emanating from the computer speakers. I rushed back to the P.C., and closed the browser. What was I thinking? Clearly “kittens” can have lots of connotations.

YouTube’s policy prohibits “inappropriate” content, which means anything pornographic or violent. Users can change the search settings to “filter videos that might not be suitable to minors” but as the company readily acknowledges, some off-color stuff may still show up. And what may be appropriate and even funny to grown-ups may not be what you want your 6-year-old repeating in polite company.

Azad Ali, a Northern Virginia father of two boys, age 5 and 7, said he searched YouTube recently for video clips of young children learning soccer. He had mixed success. “We saw some things we weren’t supposed to,” he said, and he soon learned to screen out videos with rap music in the background.

Jennifer Slegg, a blogger about search engine marketing who also happens to be a mother, has written about searching YouTube for old Sesame Street clips of the “Mahna Mahna” song to show her daughter. The Muppet video brought laughs and sweet memories, but the posted comments below it were of a different sort. She wrote about being “greeted with some pretty colorful language I am sure hoping my daughter doesn’t learn for a good ten years or so.” Slegg said she “hastily re-sized that browser window smaller so the comments weren’t visible.”

This spring, I went to YouTube, typed the keywords “YouTube for kids” and tightened my filter settings, hoping to get to a kid-friendly zone. The top video that showed up was titled, “Youtube Poop: Frustrated Sonic Insults the Kids.” It showed a parodied version of the popular cartoon character Sonic saying: “Kids, you’re not important. You’re not cool. You’re dumb. No one likes you.”

More than 12 million people under the age of 18 visited YouTube in March 2008, according to comScore, a Web-use measurement company. Clearly, watching online video clips is becoming a popular activity, and as my hummingbird experience showed, they open up opportunities for kids to learn new things. But my brush with kittens and Sonic spoofs has led me search for alternatives.
Here are three places to find online video that is not only appropriate for kids, but may inspire them too:

YouTube As a Field Trip (and As a Catalyst for Safer Video Searching)

It was a nice article from someone less aggro about the youtube sketchocity as I am.  I’m like the grumpy old fart in the corner grumbling about “that damn youtube again”

But, as people keep telling me, if ya can’t beat them, join them…  it’s where the party is at, stop being the party pooper.  Le sigh.  I just don’t know if I can… I just don’t know if I can.

Anyway, click on that link and see the remainder of the article, as well as the recommendations for online video usage (like, Kidzui, for example, which is a great youth-media aggregator site providing age appropriate content).

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