YouTube came out in 2005. At the time, I didn’t give it much though. It was mostly people uploading video clips of random things like cat videos and pranks. My oldest child was two and my youngest hadn’t been born yet, so I didn’t pay much attention to it. Several years went by before I checked it out.
Today YouTube has over 2 billion monthly users. 74% of adult use YouTube. It isn’t just for kids, although 80% of parents say their kids younger than 11 years old are watch YouTube frequently. Slightly more males watch YouTube than females, but it is pretty even. The US makes up 16% of all YouTube traffic, which is considerable. YouTube is second only to Facebook in terms of Social Media usage.
When I finally logged on and explored, I found that I loved the fact that I could watch all my favorite music videos via Vevo. It had been something like ten years since MTV had stopped playing videos and I had missed them. Later, I had a book publisher create a trailer for my book My Perfect Drug, which was pretty cool. I have been on YouTube, but I am not on it with any regularity. Despite that, I have become familiar with it because of my kids.
When my kids first got online I had them play games on the PBS Kids website or the Nickelodeon website. My daughter discovered Doll Divine and spent hours designing not just outfits, but characters.
It was probably 2014-2015 when they both discovered YouTube. Now they have it running in the background constantly. It reminds me of how when I am home alone that I put the TV on just to have some background noise. My kids no longer care about Disney, Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network. They don’t watch cable any longer. Instead, their entertainment is primarily YouTube these days, with some Netflix, Hulu and Disney + thrown in occasionally.
YouTube has evolved over the years and there are millions of channels run by people with a wide variety of interests and topics. My kids began by watching mostly Minecraft videos. They learned how to navigate the Minecraft Universe by watching other people play. Some of their favorites are ForgeLab, Fundy, Good Times with Scare, Grian, Iskall85, Jeracraft, Markiplier, MumboJumbo, Ph1LZA, Sbeev, TechnoBlade, TrixyBlox, WadZee and Xisumavoid.
This is no surprise given that there are over 200 million active gaming channels on YouTube. Minecraft videos are, by far and away, the most popular followed by Roblox.
Now my kids have expanded and diversified their YouTube experience. My oldest also watches videos about politics, cartoons, movie reviews, kill counts, cooking, doll making, crafts, LGBTQ topics, art, science, history and other things. My youngest watches a lot of science videos and cat videos.
Some of the YouTube Channels they subscribe to are: Actual Joke, Alex Myers, Amanda the Jedi, ASMR Bakery, Cinema Therapy, Corpse Husband, Creep Show Art, Cynic Snacks, David Seymour, Dollightful, Dominic Noble, Draw Free Show, Evan and Kaylen, How to Cook That, Illuninaughti, Jamie Dodger, Jazza, Jimmy Snow, Just Stop, Kathus, Kristina Maoine, Kiwi, Kyle Hill, Lavender Town, Legal Eagle, Lil Nas X, Love Gone Gulch, Observe, Philosophy Tube, Rach Loves Life, Saberspark, Sad Milk, Safiya and Tyler, Sam Collins, Samantha Lux, Titania, The Theorists, The Queer Kiwi, Thought Slime, Trix Mattel, Vizziepop’s Helluva Boss, Wild Spartanz, Xanderhal, Xian Jay Zhao and others.
I generally don’t watch these videos, but I hear all about them! My kids will tell me about their favorite content and discuss their favorite channels. I have become familiar with how YouTube works with the monetization and algorithms. I even helped my youngest create his own channel.