Parents, Do You Know What Your Tweens/Teens Do On The Internet?
This blog has been on my heart for a good while. I know some parents will get huffy and tell me they know everything their child does but I can assure parents as a former teacher that parents do not know everything their child says and does. I heard more about the parents of my children I taught than I cared to know. Having said that, I ask you all please take the time to read this fully and then just think about it for this is serious. Before I start, here are some definitions for you if you are not aware of vlogging.
vlogger: A person(s) that videos their life daily and posts it on Youtube for the world to see.
Vlog: The video that is created to post online. It gets its name from “blog” someone who writes daily for others to read only this is a video blog hence vlog.
Tween: A child nearing puberty usually defined as being 9, 10, 11 or 12 years old.
I love to watch family vlogs on Youtube. One of the downsides is that many, many tweens and young teens that are allowed to have channels to watch these vlogs are acting in ways that I think any parent would be embarrassed about. Not only do many attack others in the comment section, make ugly remarks and try to tear down some of the people vlogging their lives and their babies, they use profanity, gang up with a couple of other friends and even slander the families reputation usually out of jealous because the family or person vlogging has made money and gets to buy do things these children can not. Many vloggers do this as a career and work from home. The idea of being anonymous on the internet gives many including adults the idea they can say and do what they want but it is especially sad to see this from children.
There are a lot of “I am a teen mother” or “I am a teen and pregnant” type vlogs on these channels and also young adult single mothers who had a baby or are having their second and third baby from different boyfriends. Yes, there are some really good channels/vloggers that are just sharing their life with others and sharing the birth of their child and them growing up. I worry about which ones the tweens/teens are chosing as role models. And to be honest, are some vloggers that need to be on X rated channels that teens follow. I love the good family ones but my worry is that tweens/teens are getting so wrapped up in the baby ones that they have lost any interest in finishing school.
I have read some of the tweens/teens saying they can not wait to get pregnant and start vlogging to make money instead of going to school. I have seen them pretend to be a young mother or pregnant and talk about pregnancy, nursing or newborn things as if they were doing them only their comments sounds like they read it off a google search. And when you go look at their channel, all their friends look the tween or young teen age so you know they are too. It actually encourages them to get pregnant when so young..And there is no encouragement to go on to school and get an education.
I think what worries me the most as a former teacher is that the tweens and the young teens are carrying their smart phones to school and some are actually bragging about skipping classes or pretending to have to go to the bathroom so they can watch their favorite vloggers’ videos. They are getting up in the middle of the night to watch them and even brag about not doing their homework so they can watch them. It has become an obsession to them.
Some of the family vloggers are aware that so many tweens and young teens are flooding their channels and are very careful to not do things to encourage these kids in the wrong direction. But many are not as cautious about influencing tween/teen fans and have a huge fan base and simply only care about the number.
Most of these young people are young girls who instead of out being normal kids are watching hours and hours of vloggers channels. This is their virtual reality. They think that having children is easy to do and are so caught up in the money that is paid these vloggers and the freedom to not have to “work” or “go to school” that they want to do the same thing. And to give you an idea, some of these teenage pregnancy vloggers and young parent vloggers have a fan base from 35,000 to over 300,000 and some over a million fans. While it is good for the vloggers, is it good for our kids?
When this first started I began to realize just how many of our tween/teen population was on these vlogs watching them and commenting, I started checking out other family baby vloggers to see what was going on. I discovered that this trend is all over the world from just about every country. Some tween/young teens brag about how when their parents come around they just show them the cute videos of the kids but not all the videos. It is their secret world and they are very careful to hide what they do not want you to see.
If your child is one that watches family vloggers, please look at your child’s channel. Then if you casually ask to see the videos or their favorite video family, just let them show you but later go look up the family vlogger channel yourself and start looking through all the videos and reading comments. Also know that many of them have multiple accounts under different names so if they get blocked by a channel, they can come back with another account.
I find it very upsetting that young teens who have gotten pregnant on purpose so they could put up videos to make money and people in their upper twenties and thirties talking like some teenager using the slang so they attract them more are influencing the children today. Many people thought rock and roll was a bad influence on kids, this relatively new phenomena of “pregnancy and raising baby” vlogging is something many kids are watching hours in each day. To give an example, a vlog (video) can be anywhere from ten minutes to thirty minutes and most people have ten, and even twenty or more favorite vloggers that they watch daily. New videos are put up daily by most of the vloggers. That is a lot of hours put into watching these videos daily by children who should be in school and studying.
I learned a lot just watching and reading comments on vlog after vlog after vlog to see if this was just one vlog that tweens were on or multiple.When I posted one time that I wished Youtube would quit allowing tweens on there, a tween responded in a not very nice way that 99 percent of those watching are tweens and all the revenue would go. Although I knew this person was just using a number, I also knew they were pretty right in that a HUGE number of tweens/teens are watching and commenting on these videos. And let me tell you the names I got called, the nastiness and put downs was something I did not expect from an 11-year-old.
Please do not misunderstand me. There are a lot of really good family vloggers that I really like and would not mind a child watching. But there are also many that do not care what they put on and influence the tween/teen population in ways that I never realized until recently. It is not the good vloggers that I am concerned about. It is all the tweens and teens…hundreds of thousands…that are watching ones that are not good role models that I worry about. And the ones that are behaving in ways that I was totally shocked at on these vlogs such as the hate and bashing and wanting to get pregnant and quit school so they can vlog.
So my question is for parents, do you really know how your child is acting on the internet and the things they are posting? Do you know how much time they are spending and the role models they are following? Do you know if your child is trying to emulate the wrong kind of role model or is wanting to get pregnant so they can make money and quit school? If you really do, I say kudos for being very attentive parenting. Smart phones and tablets, etc are great for keeping the kids occupied but my concern is just what is occupying them especially after learning that this is kids from all over the world….a future generation who does not want to go to school and wants to get pregnant while still a child themselves. And I am sure I made some people mad writing about this, but my heart felt it was important enough to speak on.
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