Are your kids revolutionizing their media viewing with YouTube?

My 12-year-old daughter carries her iPod everywhere. She carries it on the school bus, puts it away for class and then plugs back in as soon as she is back on the bus. What’s odd is she is not generally listening to music on her iPod. She is usually watching YouTube videos.

I didn’t connect the dots that my daughter was part of giant trend in media consumption until I picked up a July issue of “Fortune” magazine at our library with a cover story about how YouTube is disrupting the traditional media world.

YouTube isn’t just to watch videos of music on demand or viral kitties doing adorable things. You Tube, according to Fortune magazine, is changing the TV viewing habits of the millennial generation and even younger, like my kids.

According to Fortune magazine, You Tube viewership has grown about 50 percent in the last 12 months. YouTube attracts 1 billion uses each month globally and viewers watch about 6 billion hours of videos monthly. Google, which bought YouTube in 2006, makes about $3.6 billion in revenue almost entirely from advertising. That number is expected to grow 20 percent to $4.3 billion by 2014 according to Barclays.

So while those numbers are amazing, here are the stats that show how it is revolutionizing the media industry.

From Fortune (The article is not online. Head to your local library to read in full.):

In general Americans watch about 34 hours of TV a week and they watch about 1 hour of video on the Internet a week, according Nielsen.

However, millennials (18 to 24-year-olds) watch 23 hours of TV and 2.5 hours of online videos.

“If the first era of video entertainment was network television with a handful of channels and the second wave was cable with hundreds of channels, the web incarnation is about tens of thousands of channels tailored increasingly to niche audiences. In this new world, YouTube is not only the biggest distribution platform but also its organizing force. ….(it is) an open platform where anyone can put up content and where YouTube grabs nearly half of the revenue from all the ads that run on the site.”

My 12-year-old is tuning into exactly the type of content that YouTube executives want to cultivate — original programming. She watches crazy stuff that you have never heard of on YouTube, and is constantly seeking new content and new sources.

Great news for YouTube is that my 6-year-old is also in. She came home on Wednesday and plopped down in front of the desktop computer across from my computer. I heard this crazy music come on and I said what you are listening to. She replied “Mom, it’s just YouTube.” For now she is seeking out mostly “My Little Pony” content but I’m sure that will change. My 10-year-old son is also in but he is seeking out video game walk-thrus. But the point is none of my kids come home and grab the remote to the TV, they fight over the computer and access to YouTube.

Are your kids part of the YouTube consumption trends? Do they reach for the TV remote or the computer when they come home? Are they seeking out original content on You Tube or looking for rehashes of favorite TV shows?

21 comments Add your comment


September 5th, 2013
6:21 am

We took off our kids’ ability to get to YouTube on their tablets. What they can get to on that is not good. They do not have the understanding to know what isn’t appropriate at their ages.

Signs of the Apocalypse

September 5th, 2013
6:46 am

They’ll get to the hilarious projectile vomiting videos pretty soon, too.


September 5th, 2013
7:10 am

TWG, I hope you’re monitoring what your kids see on YouTube. You do know it’s not all family friendly. Especially for your daughter who is looking at it on the bus and out of your presence, you might want to put some restrictions on the rampant viewing. Whatever happened to reading an age appropriate book?


September 5th, 2013
7:29 am

My kids spend A LOT of time on Youtube. Exactly like you said, Theresa, it’s not just watching funny videos. My son (almost 13) watches tutorials about Minecraft and Airsoft guns. My daughter (10) searches for music videos that relate to an upcoming play she is in or tutorials on how to do hair braids etc… Yesterday it was “how to make fake braces”. I know there are things that are inappropriate but I’m pretty involved and they are always sitting in either the living room or the kitchen when they are on youtube. If either starts disappearing into their rooms for hours at a time with an ipod or laptop I might worry.
The only thing I don’t like is them having access to the comments. People are so rude and inappropriate on even the simplest video. Have not found a way to combat that. I just tell the kids to ignore the comments. I’m sure they read them but we talk a lot about how inappropriate people can be. They really are being raised in a different world. As a parent it’s hard to navigate sometimes.

And UGA journalism strikes again...

September 5th, 2013
8:57 am

…”She watches crazy stuff that you have never heard of on YouTube” –

Does this mean that “you have never heard of it”; that “you have never heard of it on You Tube” (if not, why are you watching You Tube); or that “what she watches on You Tube is stuff that she/we have never heard of anywhere else”?


September 5th, 2013
9:31 am

It’s a brave new world . . . a lot of the comments about content, etc. were similar to what was being said about that new-fangled thing, the television, back in the 50’s and 60’s. :-) “Be careful what they watch,” etc., etc. right down to fighting over access.

Everything old is new again. :-)


September 5th, 2013
9:49 am

Off topic for this segment but I think this could make for an interesting blog topic and curios how many on here would feel about such:


September 5th, 2013
9:50 am

And, not the “being on TV” part but the overall experience or lack thereof…


September 5th, 2013
11:03 am

My son is part of the Millennial Gen and has been using Youtube for quite some time. Yes there is some inappropriate stuff out there but not any worse than what’s on TV.

TWG – I’m not sure I’d think of it as a “good” thing to bypass the TV for Youtube per se though. I think they’re pretty much on the same level.


September 5th, 2013
11:08 am

@Me – just clicked on your link… totally going to watch the show! And I’m thinking it would be an excellent blog topic – sex topics always are!


September 5th, 2013
11:23 am

I’m really restrictive of youtube viewing only because I know when I’m on youtube, I end up clicking on the other “similar” videos that are off to the side, exept I very quickly end up WAY off topic from where I started. I may start out watching one thing (completely innocent) and end up on something fairly graphic or naughty.

This just happened the other day…. I was watching a concert performance from Pink. Well off to the side was a seriers of other videos… and 2 or 3 clicks later, I’m watching vaginal piercing. Another day, I was watching do it yourself eyebrow waxing and ended up on videos of full Brazillion waxing. Another time, I was watching cute/funny animal videos and ended up on some VERY graphic dog fighting documentaries.

So it’s the “what will it lead to” that worries me about youtube. And I had to learn the hard way about language on some of the videos. My 5 year old was watching youtube videos of his favorite game skylanders. Some are great to watch. But he took it upon himself to click on the side videos and next thing I know, I hear F-this and F-that. I suppose if I had a 14/15 year old, I wouldn’t worry about it, but for younger kids, I think the “side videos’ can lead to alot of inappropriate stuff. Am I the only one who worries about that?


September 5th, 2013
11:51 am

You Tube may be new to Rose since she got her iPod. Mine have been using this media for years.

I know this off topic but I have to ask:

“US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 17 percent of children and teens are obese.” (AJC)
can you tell me how that is an epidemic or that we have this awful problem that all the talk shows and First Lady Obama are talking about….apparently we have 83% of children in some other catagory”


September 5th, 2013
12:09 pm


It’s not off-topic at all; it’s a direct relationship. Yes, it’s an epidemic–read your own post: “17% of children and teens are obese.” The key word here is “obese,” not “fat,” “a few extra pounds,” etc.


And we’re talking about children and teens, who have the fastest metabolism of their lives.

I taught in a school where the buildings were intentionally apart enough to integrate nature and make everyone walk a significant amount each day (and the passing period was ten minutes, not five). In the cafeteria they cut out sugary garbage, including beverages.

In a population of 300 students, only one was “extra large.” ONE.


September 5th, 2013
12:11 pm

At another school where I taught, students had these options:

1. Play two seasonal sports (out of three seasons).
2. Play one seasonal sport and have a semester of P.E.
3. Have two semesters of P.E.

Guess what?

NO student (grades 9-12) out of a population of 200+ was obese.


September 5th, 2013
12:26 pm

@ Techmom… The videos on You Tube are worse than what is on TV. TV has a rating system .. you tube does not. WHATEVER you can imagine, its on youtube.. want a lesson on how do to _________? Go on you tube… Beth gave some excellent examples earlier….


September 5th, 2013
12:35 pm

I hope they enjoy their free viewing for now. Last I heard, there was a push to make people pay a monthly fee to use and view Youtube footage.

@ homeschooler- the point that sticks out in what you posted is that you said “I’m pretty involved and they are always sitting in either the living room or the kitchen when they are on youtube.” This means you are there to 1. make sure they stay focused and 2. you can hear and see if what they are looking at gets out of hand. Theresa’s daughter isn’t even in the house.

@ Theresa like beth stated, Youtube is all great until it’s not. There are a lot of instructions for some pretty dangerous stuff on there. There are also a lot of things posted under innocent titles but are actually voiced over with some pretty nasty stuff. Some of the stuff isn’t even what it’s posted as. Oh and they probably don’t fight over the TV because they can just watch what they want as many times as they want on youtube. THAT is why the are fighting over the’s their new TV.


September 5th, 2013
3:31 pm

1 in 6 children being obese is serious and an epidemic. And looking around, I do believe that many children are obese, but how is childhood obesity being defined now? Last I checked it was by percentile — 95th or higher percentile for children of the same sex and age was defined as obese. If that’s still the measurement, how can 17% of children fall into the heaviest 5%?


September 5th, 2013
4:09 pm

Our kids have limits on their TV viewing, as well. I don’t expect for TV viewing to be “better” than YouTube.


September 5th, 2013
7:02 pm

I would limit all “viewing” and put the emphasis on “doing.”

Bee Hive Haired cashier at Dooleys Den

September 5th, 2013
7:17 pm

All I can say is 2 girls and a cup.


September 6th, 2013
8:29 am

@ DB – Yes, new things always have their critics. But, You Tube is not anything close to being the same as concerns about television. TV actually had “over the air” standards that had to be followed regarding content, in terms of graphic content. You can find “anything” on the web. There are no standards. For example, in You Tube comments, the F word is there constantly. It is much more of a free wheeling place. We view instructional videos when we need to repair something. There is some good stuff and some horrible stuff.