As the parent of a child actor, you’re most certainly aware of the option your child has to create their own content on the internet. Creating a YouTube channel, especially one that becomes popular, can help an actor’s career grow and expand. Unlike traditional television, there is an opportunity for your child to directly engage with viewers regarding the topics of their choosing. On the one hand, this is wonderful! How fun that we live in an era in which such self-expression is encouraged and such platforms are readily accessible.
That said, you and your child must also take safety precautions and approach the creation of a YouTube channel with a very clear strategy. Here are some things to consider if and when your child decides to make a YouTube channel.
1. Safety first.
If your child is under the age of 13, she will not be able to create a YouTube channel on her own due to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. She will either need to create one through your Google account or by using Family Link.
Also, I’ve written in the past about stage names and how they can help an actor’s career move forward while creating an important layer of privacy. If you simply want to make a YouTube channel for fun in your spare time, I’d advise you to consider a username on the channel that is not your real name in order to protect your privacy. However, since your child is likely creating a channel as part of her acting career, I would suggest considering adopting a stage name that your child could use both for her professional acting and for the channel. This way, if the channel becomes wildly successful with millions of views, you’ll be protecting her privacy. Of course, this decision is ultimately up to you and your child.
Also, I would advise your child to never, under any circumstances, share her home address, location, or the name of her school on the channel.
2. Develop a strategy.
Before your child starts uploading public videos, it would be wise to have a strategy discussion with her. Start by asking your child why she wants to make the channel. Is it to make people laugh? Is it to express opinions about topics that she is passionate about? To tell specific types of stories? To get famous? If it’s the latter, this would be a great time to have the fame conversation with your child if you haven’t already. Emphasize the importance of acting and entertaining for the love and joy of it and not for the end result of money or fame. Money and fame most certainly do not guarantee happiness.
Once you get clear on your child’s intention, you can support her with some brainstorming conversations. Perhaps she wants to talk about toys, perform comedy sketches, or sing songs. Maybe she wants to make home movies of herself building elaborate Lego structures! The goal is for your child to highlight and express her personality. If building Lego structures is her favorite thing to do, she could do that while also telling stories and even highlighting some of her performing skills. Make a list of ideas and talk about which types of videos she is most excited about making.
Once you and your child have decided on a channel idea or theme, you can then help her make a list of different episode ideas.
3. Test launch some videos.
You could start out by having your child create a few videos and then sharing them via private or unlisted links with trusted friends and mentors, and perhaps include her acting teacher or manager. You can adjust the setting to private or unlisted just before posting the video to YouTube. Private videos can only be viewed by fellow YouTube users that you share them with. Unlisted videos can be shared by anyone that you share the videos with and anyone that these people choose to share the links with even if they do not have YouTube accounts. Though unlisted videos can be shared freely throughout your network, they cannot be found via public online searches.
Get some constructive feedback from people you trust. This could be about video length and content, or about other technical factors such as lighting and sound. When relaying suggestions to your child, keep the conversations positive, light, and upbeat. This process of creating should be a fun undertaking every step of the way!
4. Be consistent.
Once she does launch her channel, it’s important that she update it consistently. You can perhaps start with a goal of uploading one video per week. It takes time to build an audience and consistent posting is key. Whatever posting goal your child chooses, encourage her to stick to it.
5. Monitor the comments.
It might be a very wise move for your child to turn the comments off entirely. YouTube comment threads are, unfortunately, a very common ground for cyberbullying and it’s important that your child not be exposed to this at such a young age or ideally, ever. If your child chooses to keep the comments on, I’d suggest that you read and monitor them before she sees them.
6. Have fun!
As I always say, if we aren’t having fun, then why are we doing it? Check-in with your child regularly to see if she is having fun with the channel and maintain a positive and encouraging environment always.
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