As with radio, and then television, and several social networking sites, youtube.com is just too open-ended for parents not to be concerned when their children use the site. In fact, Youtube recently made a mandate on their site that only viewers over the age of 13 were welcome.
In the mornings, when my coffee hasn’t yet kicked in, but my son is hungry for breakfast, I often Youtube children’s videos for him to watch in his highchair as I serve him breakfast. At nine month’s old, I’m not concerned that he could chose the SNL 10 year Anniversary version of Aladdin instead of Disney’s, but that time is quickly appearing on the horizon. As a preschool teacher, I know well that three-year-olds understand all too well how to move a mouse and select a link, especially one that is animated or moving. To save myself the time and energy of filtering the sites of my own, I’ve been looking for media sites that do that for me. Here are the ones I’ve used and enjoyed:
- Youtube for Children is great when I am looking for a specific child-friendly show for my son. I’ve found this site to be the most comprehensive, yet simplest site.
- Another site of interest is totlol because the videos are rated and discussed by parents – it takes on more of a forum. Viewers must be members in order to watch the videos, which are customized by you. Their ‘AgeOptimizer’ brings age appropriate videos to front of your homepage. This would be a wonderful site – if it were free. As it is, the membership fee is $18 a year.
- Finally, I believe Kideo Cafe could be the silver bullet. Its free, parent-monitored, as the site boasts, and includes videos for parents as well. It also creates a safe environment for kids to make and post videos for their peers to watch. Even with this site, however, I have found myself filtering a bit as I have seen several music videos and other more adult-oriented videos.
Do you let your children watch online videos? If so, from which sites and how do you monitor them?