Movie Mom

The New York Times has an excellent article about the way children today are watching as much programming online as they do on television and DVDs, giving them an unprecedented bounty of choices and giving their parents an unprecedented range of challenges. It begins with an astonishing statistic — in the time it takes to read the article, ten more hours of content will be uploaded to YouTube.

For parents who grew up with only a few television channels, the idea of turning a curious child loose with such a vast amount of content can produce a fair amount of anxiety. YouTube has a policy banning children under 13 in its fine print. “YouTube is for teens and adults, not children.” said Scott Rubin, a YouTube spokesman.

Yet, according to Nielsen VideoCensus, more children under 13 watched videos in August on YouTube than on, and Cartoon Network combined.

YouTube has instructional videos on every possible skill from math to pumpkin-carving and wonderfully creative animated shorts from all over the world. It has videos made by other kids, with FlipVideos and iPhones and the popular Webkinz But it also has a lot of very inappropriate material both in the videos themselves and in the comments, which are often profane and offensive.
The article is must reading for parents of 4-12-year olds, especially its very sensible suggestions for navigating this often-rewarding but sometimes-treacherous world of online video content.

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