Online video

Promoting safe watching and sharing of online videos

YouTube PhoneAsk a room full of modern children what they’d like to do when they’re older, and at least one of them will say that they want to be a professional YouTuber. A few years ago, there was no such thing - but nowadays, professional YouTubers are a new form of celebrity and making a living producing online video is more than viable. Inspired by their online role-models, and made easy through phone apps and cameras, children are experimenting with creating and publishing their own videos.

As professionals, it’s our job to help ensure that children remain safe online, particularly when using online video services. Denying access to these services won’t teach young people to stay safe online; instead, we must teach discrete knowledge and skills.

Online video services
YouTube is by far the most popular provider of online video, but other services, such as Vimeo and Dailymotion, offer the same. Free to use, and originally set up as a video-dating website, YouTube makes its money through advertising and has around 300 hours of video uploaded to its platform every minute. It allows users to comment on each other’s videos, (see our recent article on live streaming) and enter partnerships in order to increase audience size. The vast majority of video sharing websites, including YouTube, are designed for 13+ year olds.

Watching videos: what are the risks?
Due to the openness of the Internet and despite the work of real-life moderators and the removal of videos that breach policies, young people may accidentally stumble across or find videos that are inappropriate, offensive or pornographic. Children may also come across videos that promote violence, bad language, particular viewpoints and religious opinions. Young people will also come across advertising, some of which may be targeted at adults.

A key part of watching online video is the social interaction through commenting; this therefore means that young people may be exposed to language that is unsuitable or that promotes bullying.

Children should be encouraged to report or talk to an adult about any content that they feel is inappropriate; in doing this, they are asking for support and advice. A young person may also need adult intervention if they viewed something that particularly upset or worried them.

Sharing video: what are the risks?
Publishing video online has been made very easy and most modern smart phones have tools build-in for this.

Before publishing a video, young people should be taught to consider whether:

  • The video reflects them positively (will they be proud of it in years to come?);
  • The video is respectful (could anyone find it offensive or upsetting?);
  • They’ve protected their private information within it;
  • Everyone in the video is happy for it to appear online;
  • They want to share the video with the world, their friends, or keep it private.
  • Children should also be taught how to respond to comments on their videos and what to do with comments that are upsetting or those written by trolls:

  • To not respond, since responses can fuel the fire;
  • To report or flag such messages where possible;
  • To save any evidence of online bullying, as this will be useful later;
  • To block users where needed;
  • To gain support from a trusted adult.
  • For more information, visit

    Written by Matt Lovegrove on June 14, 2018 10:45

    Keeping children safe online is the biggest child protection challenge of this generation

    Parents’ concerns about social networking sites popular with children were revealed recently, as the NSPCC launched its Share Aware campaign to get families talking about socialising safely online.

    An NSPCC panel of more than 500 parents from Mumsnet reviewed 48 of these sites and said all those aimed at adults and teenagers were too easy for children under 13 to sign-up to. On more than 40 per cent of the sites, the panel struggled to locate privacy, reporting and safety information.

    At least three quarters of parents surveyed by the NSPCC found sexual, violent, or other inappropriate content on Sickipedia, Omegle, Deviant Art, and F my Life within half an hour of logging into the sites.

    Those aimed at younger children, like Club Penguin, Moshi Monsters, Popjam and Bearville, fared better and parents did not find any unsuitable content on them.

    The NSPCC also asked just under 2,000 children and young people which social networking sites they used. Talking to strangers or sexual content were the main concerns mentioned by children. But they also thought the minimum age limit for signing up to many sites should be higher, despite saying they’d used the sites when they were underage.

    The NSPCC has used the reviews to create a new online guide to help inform parents about the risks of different social networking sites used by children.

    Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC, said: “Children are taught from an early age that it is good to share but doing so online can be very dangerous. We must all be Share Aware. This Christmas many children will have been given a smart phone, a tablet computer, or a games console. So it’s the perfect opportunity for parents to have that important conversation with their children about who they are talking to and what they share when they socialise online.

    “We know that children do take risks online, sometimes without realising it. And we know some parents feel confused by the internet – out of their depth, and out of control. Our Share Aware campaign gives parents straightforward, no-nonsense advice that will help them to untangle the web and feel confident talking to their children about online safety.

    “Keeping children safe online is the biggest child protection challenge of this generation. Parents have a vital role to play but we want social networking sites to respond to parental concerns about their children’s safety and privacy. The NSPCC will continue to challenge and work with internet companies and the Government to make the internet a safer place for children.”

    The NSPCC’s Share Aware campaign is aimed at parents of 8 to 12-year-old children and also features two animations to be shown on prime time TV and digital spaces. I Saw Your Willy and Lucy And The Boy are engaging films with a serious message that follow the stories of two children who share too much about themselves online. Both films contain the simple message that although children are taught that it’s good to share, this is not always the case online.

    People can find out more about the NSPCC campaign at and join the debate on social media by following #ShareAware.

    Anyone looking for advice about keeping children safe online, or concerned about the safety and welfare of a child, can contact the NSPCC’s 24-hour helpline on 0808 800 5000 or email

    Children worried about online safety or any other problem can call the free, 24-hour helpline on 0800 1111 or get help online at

    Written by Safeguarding Essentials on January 22, 2015 13:37

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