More teens watching YouTube than cable TV

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – More young people are watching YouTube more often than cable TV, according to a semi-annual survey of 10,000 teens conducted by investment bank Piper Jaffray.

The survey, released in April, found 26 percent of teens said they watched YouTube every day, whereas only 23 percent said the same for cable TV.

YouTube isn’t just about mindless entertainment – young people are actually learning things!

Sixth-grader Alyssa Dozier watches to get more out of her favorite subject, science.

“I didn’t understand what ‘atom’ meant so I went on YouTube, and I searched ‘What does atom mean?’ and I found a video and it explained everything,” she says.

Many kids use YouTube to teach themselves new skills, or expand on hobbies they have already.

“It’s being able to find content that they are looking for instantly, and getting something out of it,” says Ginain Grayes, who oversees social media for Hillsborough County schools.

She has several pieces of advice for parents that are concerned about their kids’ YouTube consumption.

  • Keep your child’s credentials on hand at all times. That puts you in control, and you always have access to the account.
  • Take advantage of YouTube’s safety features.
  • Keep the lines of communication open. Spend time watching videos with children, and review their “recently watched” history.
  • Understand that filters can’t catch everything.

“There will be times that they encounter inappropriate content, and you have no idea,” says Grayes.

She says that’s why communicating with your child is so important. Encourage them to let you know if they come across inappropriate content.

Uploading videos requires more vigilance by parents. Children who wish to upload content must be at least 13 years old, and Grayes suggests that those videos first be set to “private.” Later, if approved by a parent, those videos may be made public at the parent’s discretion.

Alyssa plans to start her own YouTube channel showcasing her talents and those of her peers, but she has her parents’ permission.

“I’m going to be doing voice acting,” she says, adding that she’ll also edit the videos. She plans to have other students draw and animate cartoons for her channel, which she plans to launch over summer break.

For additional information on safety, visit YouTube’s Safety Center.

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