So Your Kid Wants to be a Video Star?
Our children are the future. They will be our next presidents, builders, caregivers, entertainers, and many more. The world in which they are growing up is so different than my childhood.
If you have kids today, you see how much YouTube is integrated in their lives, especially if they’re video gamers and watching other gamers narrate gameplay. Google reports that 95% of gamers turn to YouTube for entertainment and information .
At some point or another, they wanted to be as famous as PewDiePie, Markiplier, and Smosh Games . Collectively, these individuals can have just as many subscribers than the Sunday circulation of the New York Times, the Guardian, and the Wall Street Journal.
When they’re young, it’s cute. We smile and let them indulge. We create little YouTube channels that we control. It’s fun to watch your kids as would-be internet famous. Alas, they see how difficult it is, their attention sways to something else, and we move on.
So yesterday, my son wanted to get real serious about putting up a YouTube channel. He’s now old enough and has the technology to stream on his own. For a parent, that’s a bit uncomfortable.
I had a sit down with him as a father and a partner. This is the type of stuff I get paid to do and it’s interesting and humbling to talk digital strategy with the next generation. I’ve had this conversation a few times with grade schoolers, high schoolers, and college students.
Here are 5 things to talk to your grade schooler about when they want to post videos or stream.
1. What are You Trying to Do and Why?
Sometimes we jump right in without really knowing our why. Understanding our true reason and motivations will really help drive many aspects of the future. From decisions you make on your brand to your episodes, your “why” should be an anchor. Without a good “why”, it becomes difficult to inspire anyone who might be watching.
Ask why multiple times. The first question can be varied; some alternatives can be: What’s the problem you are trying to solve? What’s the goal you’d like to achieve?
By the end of it, my son concluded that he wanted to produce YouTube videos of video games that make people happy. He wanted to do this because the world is a scary place and he wanted to help make it better.
2. How Will You Know if You Succeeded?
By answering this question, your setting a measurable goal and commitment. It’s also an exercise in visualizing success. A 2014 athletic study discovered reduced sprint times when sprinters used imagery to visualize success .
My son’s mark of success was a simple achievable goal: to get videos up once a week and get to 100 subscribers or more.
You have to be bad before you get good at anything. That’s why I like the small, attainable goals as a good starting point.
3. What are the Ground Rules for Privacy and Safety?
The internet can be a dangerous place and we need to set some ground rules. The basic rule for public display in social media for someone under age is to stay unanimous and untraceable.
This boils down to never showing yourself, revealing your name or posting anything that could lead someone to find you.
This rule extends to friends and we agree that if he invites a friend who is under 18 to be on the show, he’ll have to get parental permission in the form of email.
This started to feel like..
4. The Internet is Forever.
The final point I had to drive home is that the internet is forever. As soon as it leaves your computer, it’s out there, and there is a chance that it can’t be taken back.
This means everything you put out there can be used to judge you and your family. The “your family” part should make the consequences very real.
The goal is to make people feel better and happier. And it should never be at the expense of anyone else. This means no making fun of anybody, no bad humor, and only reference official websites (no warez sites). Minecraft has a vast underworld (no pun intended).
Basically, it should pass the “would-papa-approve?” test.
5. Recap and Take Notes.
Writing things down has a profound impact on memory and relationships. It also serves as a reference you can look to for guidance.
At the end of the conversation, we recapped everything together while he took notes. The notes, which also serve as a make-shift agreement, were then passed on to his mom.
Now let’s see how he does out there.