For many people, even those of us who are digital immigrants, it feels like YouTube video sharing has always been around, but actually YouTube is just celebrating its 10th birthday. The site, which makes it so easy to upload, view, and yes, use video resources, has changed 21st Century online culture.
My content addresses issues of interest for parents whose kids use either or both of the sites and focuses on interesting facts, some of the differences between Google+ and Facebook, and privacy issues.
I illustrate with a terrific infographic from Veracode Application Security.
The other day a parent asked me to review the steps for embedding a YouTube video on a blog or in PowerPoint. It’s easy to do. It’s also useful for parents to know a bit about using videos because, in the coming years, your child will likely be using YouTube videos as a part of reports and presentations.
As an example I am using the Mayo Clinic’s video guide to social media. Mayo produced this in-house movie to serve as a teaching tool for members of the medical community, informing staff about social media user responsibilities. The video is a model for any organization that wants to help employees learn more about using social media as well as other digital issues in professional life.
Once you discover a YouTube video that you want to share or embed and know where you want to put it (blogs, PowerPoint, etc.), scroll down so you can see the words just below the video. Click on the word share.
Check out the Google interactive lessons, videos, and slides, all focused on digital citizenship, privacy, and YouTube best practices. Useful for teachers as well as parents, these discrete units are easy to use and share, especially when students need an organizational framework before beginning to look for school project resources. Each lesson is readily downloadable as a Google Doc and even for other presentation media such as PowerPoint.
Many of the Google videos include tips that can help students use YouTube more effectively while honoring copyright principles and evaluating content carefully. Google developed these digital resources for secondary students, but in many schools the videos will also be valuable for middle schoolers. Even fifth grade teachers may find that some of the videos can help them in the context of curriculum units.
After the jury announced its verdict in New Jersey I watched Associated Press video statement read by Tyler Clementi’s father. Sad and clearly with a heavy heart, he nevertheless looked to the future in a way that most of us could not have done had we lost a child the way he lost Tyler. Then I glanced down at the YouTube comments — just about every one included a gay slur or offensive language, and I was disgusted. The comments were not relevant.
Racist and hateful online comments demean writers, video-makers, and people who thoughtfully share digital content. It’s becoming tiresome. Masquerading as run-of-the-mill responses at the end of articles and videos – they are actually cyber-bullies’ remarks left here and there with the goal of offending and hurting others. The time has long past for comment and blog editors everywhere — but especially at Google’s YouTube — to set up and enforce guidelines.
I know that the United States Constitution guarantees freedom of speech; however, it’s not freedom of speech we are observing but freedom to run off at the mouth and bully others in ways that are not relevant to the content. As a result we are teaching all sorts of silent lessons — the kind we don’t really intend to teach to young people as they grow up.
Instead, use your energy to learn as much as you can. A parent’s goal is to develop enough knowledge to provide guidance and supervision based on significant family values, even as these media continue to evolve. Continued learning is always required if one aims to help children avoid potential pitfalls.
Thinking that social media will eventually disappear wastes time and energy.
Five Tips to Help You Get Going
1. Ask your child on a regular basis — and definitely without belittling yourself — to help you learn a new technology skill. Start with some of the easier web 2.0 interactive sites such as Wordle to make cool word designs or Diigo to save your bookmarks in a place accessible from anywhere. Keep learning.
Last week an acquaintance asked me how a parent might protect their kids, at least a bit, from some of the more inappropriate content that YouTube may show to young children. Like so much in the social media world, YouTube is fun to use and filled with amazing and seemingly unlimited content, but the best guides are parents and teachers who are confident and careful users.
When your children use YouTube, it’s easy to turn on the Safety Mode using the link at the bottom of the page (see illustration above). To keep Safety Mode on permanently one needs to be a registered user (easy to do) and signed-in to YouTube. Check out this YouTube video about the Safety Mode. (Remember that no safety mode or filter works perfectly.) The YouTube safety issuespage addresses other questions, though the location could a be a lot more user-friendly. Also check out the YouTube Community Guidelines page.