How to Deal with Your Teen’s YouTube Addiction

May 14, 2020
YouTube can be a really addictive platform for teens. In this article, discover how to deal with your teen's YouTube addiction.

Are you tired of asking your child what they’re doing and constantly hearing “watching YouTube” as a response? In this sense, it’s important for parents to understand why teens get hooked on YouTube. So, what can you do to stop your teen’s YouTube addiction from becoming a serious problem?

If your teenager spends a lot of time on their cell phone, chances are they’re watching YouTube. As a source of entertainment and information, YouTube offers attractive reasons to stay watching. If you have a child with a cell phone or Internet access, this is what you need to know about YouTube.

What’s YouTube?

YouTube is a video sharing platform. You can upload your own videos, watch other people’s videos, and interact with them. Also, on this platform, you can “like”, share, and comment on the content that you’re watching.

YouTube has been around since 2005. Thus, it’s firmly ingrained in the lives of most people who spend time online. In addition, this platform offers YouTubeTV as a streaming service similar to Hulu or Netflix.

Children watching YouTube videos.

How can your teen’s YouTube addiction negatively them?

YouTube offers its users many options. When there’s an emphasis on consumption and your teen spends too much time on YouTube, it can have negative implications. Although it can be a fun option for teens, there are some inherent dangers to be aware of.

There’s little to no supervision over content and the platform encourages users to lose track of time. In fact, it continuously offers more and more content related to content that users have previously seen.

Teens and adults can see that, what started with a one-minute video, somehow becomes 30 minutes of watching different videos! And the content they see is less and less related to the first video.

The danger for teenage users is that they may be exposed to inappropriate videos without requesting access to such material. Thus, what can start in an innocent way can easily turn into inappropriate use and content.

YouTube is a time “stealer”

Definitely, YouTube is a time “stealer” due to its format. It’s practically impossible to only watch one video on this platform. It’s hard to stop watching the moment when a related video automatically starts playing when the one you’re watching ends.

Also, the platform shows related videos at the bottom while you’re seeing a video. With so many options and the temptation to keep watching, it’s unwise to expect that teens will set their own limits. It’s difficult to self-regulate the emotional needs that YouTube meets at any given time.

In addition, YouTube also offers content that parents may consider inappropriate for their children. Some videos contain violence, explicit language, and sexual content. In fact, even without these factors, parents may not be happy with the vloggers their teens may choose to idolize and follow.

A teen recording a video.

There’s also concern about the digital footprint that teens may be leaving behind. If young people upload their own content to YouTube, it can be difficult to erase the ramifications of bad judgment. The pressure to get views, likes, shares, and comments can also create a disturbing level of stress and anxiety for teens as content creators.

YouTube addiction: reduce the negative experiences of this platform in your teen’s life

Although parents certainly can’t exhaustively track teen usage of YouTube at all times, they do need to experience confidence and independence on certain levels. In this regard, parents can take some steps to help make YouTube a more positive experience for their teens:

  • Set parental controls.
  • Talk to your teen about YouTube.
  • Ask your teen what they see or create for their channel.
  • Establish technology time limits.

For teens, it may be useful to limit or eliminate technology during homework time or when it’s time for bed. If technology is necessary, parents can ask their teens to use electronic devices in the family space.

Limits help reduce the risk of both depression and loneliness associated with spending too much time on technology and social media. Parents need to keep all of this in mind to reduce the risks of their children suffering from YouTube addiction.