Youtube, We Tube!

It is always funny to me how the smallest of interests can turn into unseen teachable moments. My boys have been bugging me forever to allow them to participate in YouTube. I have heard all the parental warnings about youtube, myspace and so on so I always brushed off the question with “maybe someday”. Well, for whatever reason, someday was today. The boys ended up publishing their first, of probably many, youtube videos. The whole process was exciting to watch. First, they wrote out their scripts and decided who would direct and who would act. Then they choose costumes and props. After learning how to work the tripod (I had to dig it out of the garage) they filmed their skit. Next, they had to learn to upload the video to the computer. I taught them how to use Windows Movie Maker. It is a such a simple program that the kids picked it up in a few minutes. They edited, added special effects, credits and even some funny comments. Then, it was time to upload it to our shiny new youtube account. We ran into some problems because the file that Movie Maker uses as a default is not compatible with youtube. After watching another users youtube on how to change the file the boys had a movie ready to go. They uploaded and a few minutes later, they were internet stars. Of course, I made sure that I followed all the parental safety tips. There is nothing that identifies them or their account. They watched the viewing statistics for about an hour, excited everytime someone watched it. Then they jumped up all excited to go start their next script! If you have been shying away from youtube for the same reasons I was, go ahead and jump in. Just before to follow basic internet safety. You will so love the look of pride and accomplishment as they take their ideas and publish them!

Here are two of the best parent tips for YouTube from CommonSenseMedia:

Remind your kids that posting videos can be really fun, but they never know who’s watching. YouTube has millions of viewers all over the world. If you let them post, tell your kids to mark their videos as “private” so that only their friends can watch them. (You can figure out how to do this by going to the “Safety Tips” link at the bottom of all YouTube pages.)

Tell your kids to protect their identities. No-nos for videos include license plate numbers and images of your house, their bedroom, or their school. Make sure that all “tags” (search identifiers) don’t reveal their real names, locations, schools, or anything else that could lead unsavory types to their doors.