Why I Created a YouTube Gaming Channel for My 6-Year-Old

And the rules I abide by as a parent.

Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash

I’ve been trying for the past two years to get my six-year-old interested in video games with no success. Video games play a significant role in my life. I’ve always owned at least one console, and I’m a true fan of some of the well-known gaming franchises such as Mario, Zelda, Call of Duty, Tomb Raider, etc.

I’ve been trying to get my son interested in video games for the last two years with kids friendly games, but my son did not care for video games. He was more into LEGO and Hot Wheels, which is fine. To be honest, somehow, I felt a loss. I wanted him to enjoy this hobby of mine, to enjoy some father-son multiplayer games together.

In November 2020, I got a handheld version of the classic Super Mario Bros. Believe it or not, this handheld console worked its magic, and my son all of a sudden was interested in video games — at least Super Mario. I’ve allowed him to play super Mario for 30 minutes a day, and he would ask me to help him sometimes. He would watch me, learn how to jump on a certain level, and repeat what I did on his own. In roughly two weeks, he was able to advance to the advanced level on his own.

He saw me watching a YouTube video to find a collectible in a game I played one time. He asked me if he can find videos of others playing Super Mario as well. I checked YouTube Kids, and it did contain Super Mario videos suitable for his age — no swearing in the creator’s voice over. The YouTube videos actually helped him getting better in the classic Super Mario. It is time to kick it up a notch.

One time, he saw a video of a 3D platformer that we own. He asked me if he can play that game, and after a couple of misses, he learned the controls pretty fast. However, he wasn’t playing the objective of the game. He was just jumping and running around. When I finally asked him why he isn’t playing the objective of the game? He answered me that the rest of the level is too difficult for him. I sat next to him and helped him from time to time to finish the level.

On the next day, he asked me to play the same level again. I told him that I couldn’t help him because I need to prepare dinner. 20 minutes later, he ran into the kitchen, and he was screaming: “I did it, I did it.” I went to the living room to witness his achievement, and I saved the last 30 minutes of gameplay — This is a function available in modern consoles. After dinner, I sat with him, and we watched his gameplay. The joy in his eyes said it all.

He asked me if other kids can now watch his gameplay video like he watched a YouTube video about the game before. I had to answer negatively first. However, I told him that I’d create a YouTube channel to upload his gameplay — which I did that night while he was sleeping. In the morning, during breakfast, I showed him his gameplay video. On that day, he told everybody in pre-school about the YouTube video.

He started playing different levels to challenge himself. And every time he finishes a new level on his own, he will ask me to upload the video for him. His Youtube video library is his pride every time he speaks on the phone to his grandparents or uncles. We do not edit the videos or create thumbnails for them. We use the Youtube channel mainly as a video library for him and his gaming videos.

YouTube was an important factor for my son to get into video games. And the ability to upload gaming videos to the platform pushed him to challenge himself even further.

Rules for playing video games

He is only six years old. We have to set the ground rules for him before he is allowed to enjoy video games. The rules are simple:

  1. He can only play for 30 minutes on weekdays and 60 minutes on the weekends (however divided into two sessions). He asks Alexa to set a timer for 30 minutes before he starts playing.
  2. He can only play after he is done with his home works, chores, and guitar lessons.
  3. He can only ask to play if no one is using the living room’s TV.
  4. If we noticed that he is constantly talking about video games, we would ask him to skip a day or two of video games.
Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

Rules for the YouTube channel

Those rules apply whenever a minor is thinking of starting a YouTube channel. And if your son or daughter asked your permission to start their own YouTube channel, you might want to consider these rules as well. The rules also apply if your little one wants to start creating TikTok videos.

  1. Create a plan. If you are launching the channel for your kid or if your kid asked you for permission to start a channel, the first step is to create a plan. What is the main objective of the channel, and who is the target audience? If your kid is looking at the channel as a business, discuss advertising and endorsements with them.
  2. Identify which type of content is suitable for your kid. Talk about what to post and what not to post. Explain to them the concept of privacy and which information is ok to be shared on the web, and which information should remain hidden for their own safety. This applies to all social media platforms. Some of the greatest YouTubers nowadays started as kids on the platform, e.g., MKBHD.
  3. Turn off comments. It is easier to write hurtful things online than saying these hurtful things to someone’s face. You need to protect your little ones from internet trolls and bullies. They can ask for constructive criticism in person from friends and family members. Once they are older (in highschool) and have thicker skin for negative comments and internet trolls, turning on the comment section might be ok. But even then, stand by their side against internet trolls and hateful comments.
  4. Talk about the channel with your kids. Keep the conversation about the channel open with your kids. Ask them about their future plans, which videos performed better than the rest, and if you can support them in a certain way. Let them know that you are the go-to-person if they need any support.
  5. Start with baby steps and privately. Ask them to review all of their videos before they are public. Flag content, which is not suitable for their channel, and tell them why it is not suitable. Consider launching privately first for family and friends. Those would give your kids their honest feedback if the kids asked for constructive criticism.

The takeaway

Video is a fun way for all of us to interact. Sharing videos online is an accelerator that your kid might need to excel in their skills and learning experience. It might even work as an archive for your child’s recitals and creativity.

It is important to explain to your kids what type of content or information is allowed to be shared online. The concept of privacy is important, and it is our job to teach it to the little ones.

Video and content editing are great skills, that your children will eventually learn while posting videos to their Youtube channel.

Engineer, writer, wild thinker, and life-loving. FOLLOW ⤵ www.linkedin.com/in/WAO1

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