The life of a young YouTube vlogger

Posted by / Monday 06 February 2017 / Young people

We all know the internet can be dangerous, particularly for children and young people. Cyber-bullying and peer pressure online are real issues that young people face today, and that can be scary if you are a parent.

We interviewed Callum, a young blogger, and his mum to find out what they do to help make sure Callum stays safe online. 


What do you vlog about?

Depends what mood I am in, usually challenges, like recently I did a chubby bunny challenge. Scooting is another one. I video all of my tricks (and fails) in tutorials. I do these for my friends who subscribe to the channel. I do trampoline flips (and fails) and Xbox tutorials.


When did you decide to tell your mum about your YouTube channel?

I’m under 18 so I needed her permission to make a channel. 


What do you like about YouTube?

That I can share my videos with people, and that I can watch other people’s. I like it as people can see what I do, to give people ideas. I do stunts, then my friends do them and we watch each other's.

little girl using an ipad

Do you feel like YouTube is safe?

A little bit. It’s safe for us because they've made YouTube Kids. It’s not ok if people watch stuff that's inappropriate like swearing. You don't go talking to some random person and share your personal details and stuff.

I know my friends' YouTube names so I stick to them, and if I see someone new I go onto their account and find out what they are like. If they are weird people or have no content I go away from them.

Have you ever had any negative comments and if so what did you do?

Yes, just ignored them.


If you had to give a younger you some advice, what would you say?

Don't talk to strangers, don’t give out personal information. If someone is annoying tell an adult and ignore them.

Callum's mum, Liz:

How do you keep your son safe on YouTube? 

I keep an eye on his videos. He openly shared his channel link with his cool Auntie and others as he is proud of his videos so I have a watchful audience. I also get notifications from YouTube of 'things you might like because you watched' and nine times out of ten they are football or sport related. 


Why do you think it's important that you're involved in his vlogging?

The internet moves so quickly, the language he uses to reference things is different and new, but he and his friends are very open with me. I'm often the one behind the camera catching his trick fails at the skate park having acted as taxi for him and his friends. Ensuring I understand has helped build our communication and I love that we have something to talk about, although I get moaned at when I secretly upload the massive fails to his channel!

"He openly shares his channel link with his cool Auntie as he is proud of his videos, so I have a watchful audience"

Callum's mum, Liz

What have you found hardest about your son having a vlog? If anything at all?

There is a sense of vulnerability. No matter how confident I am in his ability to be sensible, he is young, and therefore that brings with it naivety - this could be exploited. I’ve made the effort to learn about the YouTube culture, I know who his friends are so I can identify characters if they are not known to me and I'll chat to him about them, he doesn't get defensive and he knows that I don't check all the time, so he still feels a sense of independence.


Is there anything else you do to protect your son online?

Our internet is set to maximum parental control. They are only allowed to use YouTube Kids where his younger brother or sister have access. I ask him not to use his full name in any videos, and never to mention his address. We have boundaries around times they can access the internet and he has rules when he visits some of his friends’ houses around what he is allowed to watch or not, and he tends to stick to it.


He has a phone with data access but this again is limited, and is mostly used for videoing and uploading the data/video clips. His phone is linked to my iCloud account so again, I can see what he is uploading/downloading.

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