What if my child wants their own YouTube channel?
YouTube is the world's most popular video streaming platform, and massively popular with children and young people. The platform has a younger sibling, YouTube Kids, with content curated for viewers aged 3 to 13.
Excitingly, YouTube offers young people the chance to be content creators as well as consumers.
Many parents will have had the ‘Can I have my own YouTube channel?’ question thrown at them – but where do you start? Is it allowed? Is it a good idea? How old do they have to be? And how do you even do it anyway?
Here’s everything parents need to know about setting up a YouTube channel for a child.
Why does my child want to start a YouTube channel?
Creating videos for YouTube is a great way for young people to express their creativity and share it with an audience. And some of the most popular YouTube channels have been made by children. For example, ten-year-old Ryan, of Ryan’s World fame, has over 30 million YouTube subscribers.
The accessible nature of YouTube means anyone with a camera can have a platform. So it’s no wonder children are eager to press record.
What are the rules?
YouTube doesn’t allow children under the age of 13 to create their own channels or accounts, and children between ages 13 and 17 are only allowed to open them with parental permission.
If your child is under 13, you should set up the channel yourself – and continue to manage the content they post and everything they do on it from that point on.
How do I create a YouTube channel?
- First you will need a Google account. And as per the section above, if your child is under 13 you will need to use your information to create and manage the channel.
- Go to the YouTube homepage and log in via your Google account.
- Click the profile icon.
- Click ‘create channel’.
- You have the choice of either using the name and profile associated with the Google account or creating a new one.
- Pick your channel name. This shouldn’t include your child’s personal information, such as their name.
- You can then upload a picture and add a channel description.
How do I keep my child safe on YouTube?
Check the privacy settings
There are three different settings for videos published on YouTube: Public, Private and Unlisted.
Public: A default setting that allows any YouTube user to view the video
Private: Allows you to restrict your video to be viewed by only yourself and other users that you select
Unlisted: Only people who have the link to the video can view it. The video will not show up on your channel page or come up in any YouTube search filter
To change video privacy settings:
- Sign in to YouTube Studio
- From the left sidebar, select Videos
- Hover over the video you'd like to update. To see your live uploads, select the Live tab
- Click the down arrow under ‘Visibility’ and choose Public, Private, or Unlisted
Know how to manage comments
To hide comments from a specific viewer:
- Find a comment they’ve left on your channel or video
- Next to the comment, select More > Hide comments from this user
Alternatively, you can turn off comments completely. To do this:
- Sign into Youtube
- Click on the profile icon
- Click on YouTube Studio
- On the left sidebar select ‘Videos’
- Click on the name or thumbnail of the video you want to disable comments for
- Toggle over to the ‘Advanced’ tab and scroll down to the ‘Comments and ratings’ section
- Untick the ‘Allow comments’ box to completely disable comments for that video
- In the top right-hand, click ‘Save’
When you upload a video you’ll see an option to designate whether the video is ‘for kids’. If you select it, comments will automatically be disabled.
You can also block a channel in YouTube Studio:
- Find the commenter’s channel URL from their channel page
- Open YouTube Studio
- From the left menu, select Settings > Community
- In the ‘Hidden users’ box, paste the channel URL
- Select Save
You can find out more about reporting inappropriate content on YouTube here.
Whatever their age, make sure you’re in the loop with your child’s YouTube plans. Be actively involved and interested.
If your child is under 13, you’ll need to manage the whole process – from uploading to publishing. And of course, you’ll need to watch every video they intend to post and approve it first. They may be the creative brains behind it, but it’s your channel, not theirs.
Make sure your child understands the implications of posting videos online. This can be an exciting opportunity for them. But they should also remember not to share their private information in their videos. This includes not disclosing their location, or filming in school uniform.