YouTube stars aren’t role models
I love YouTube and social media as much as the next person. I laugh at funny videos and am so glad that someone uploaded that how to video. But I’ve never been into the many of the huge, and in my humble opinion, incredibly stupid YouTube stars such as Logan Paul or PewDiePie as I just can’t stand to watch dumb and stupid people. It drives me crazy as my husband can attest.
Recently one of these YouTube stars, Logan Paul posted a mocking video of someone who had recently committed suicide. Many many people were outraged, like they should be, and demanded action be taken against the YouTube star. What was surprising though was the number of people who stood up for Logan Paul and his video, even threatening those who criticized the YouTube star. Even more scary is that many of those that did are our children, teens, and young adults.
There was a time, not to long ago, that even children and teens wouldn’t thought about standing up for someone to such a degree and with such fervor. They would have been understood that Logan Paul had crossed a line. Today, that video had over 6 million views and, even after been taken down, uploaded videos of the original were trending worldwide.
Most teens and young adults most likely knew of Logan Paul before this video, but did you? Probably not. Or if you did, you thought, “It’s all just harmless fun. My kid knows better.” The thing is, your kid probably doesn’t. They have followed these YouTube starts for years. They have watched their stupid antics, their bullying, their craziness, and have have probably thought, “it must be ok because look at the number of views they’re getting. If it wasn’t ok, YouTube would do something about it.”
(While YouTube has started being more aggressive recently when it comes to disturbing content, for years this wasn’t the case. Videos of popular children’s characters having sex, using foul language, or hurting or killing someone have been around for years. And YouTube stars are notorious for getting around YouTube’s guidelines as there has been little repercussion from the site for their offensive and disturbing videos.)
The problem with these YouTube stars is that they are making videos for a demographic that hasn’t fully developed critical thinking skills. And because these YouTube stars are basically teenagers themselves and haven’t really had to deal with real life consequences, they continue making those types of videos that bring them fame and make them money. It’s kind of the dumb leading the dumb. That’s a problem because their audience isn’t able to distinguish what is normal social behavior and what isn’t. For example, they may say, “don’t bully,” while creating videos that show them doing just that. And because our children have watched them for years, these stars have become friends and even role models and they have a hard time seeing what they are doing is wrong.
Parents can no longer just believe the videos their kids are watching are harmless. Or that without parent teaching child that you child will somehow know what is socially acceptable or what is appropriate behavior. The sad truth is that they wont. Parents need to watch what their kids are watching and then have conversations over and over again about the videos and what they are seeing. And these conversations need to take place again and again and again. It’s the only way to make sure your kids are learning and internalizing not only what you want them to know, but what they need to know to be successful in life.
We know these conversations aren’t easy. They require communication, honesty, and connection and sometimes that is difficult. We recommend two things to improve communication skills. First, start by using Effective Communication as it shows you how to better communicate. Second, begin the pattern of having meaningful conversations. The earlier the better. When you set a pattern of listening and talking to your child, they are more likely to listen to you when it’s a topic that really matters. This includes talking to them about their dreams, fears, friends, struggles, hopes, joys, etc. Basically anything that matters to them! One thing that works really well is using our monthly conversation starters as they give you a way to begin the conversation.
There is something you can do if you come across content that you find disturbing or inappropriate on social media. You can report it. It’s one of the best tools we have in fighting what we don’t want our children to see.