Whether you consider yourself a modern parent or not, by now you’ve heard of YouTube – the ultra-popular video sharing website. YouTube allows users to upload, view, and share video clips on almost any topic you can imagine – you can find how-to videos, music videos, political videos, funny baby videos, and the list goes on and on.
So how can you use the user-generated videos on YouTube to connect with your teen? One of the most effective ways to get involved with our teens is to engage in some of the activities they are interested in – spend time with them, listen to them, laugh and explore with them.
A great tool to use to connect with today’s youth is YouTube. “YouTube?”, you say… Yes, YouTube, something your kids already know a lot about. Here are 6 great ways that you can use YouTube to spend time with and connect with your kids.
Find Old Stand-Up Comedian Videos – Remember Sam Kinison (warning: some of his stuff is pretty racy) or Howie Mandel years before his “Deal or No Deal” days? Some of this old stand-up comedy stands the test of time and is just as hilarious today as it was 20 years ago. This is a great way to stay connected with your teens and you’ll find you and your teen laughing at the same jokes and antics as you did when you were their age.
Now is the time to learn to connect because the way they learn in high school is so different from the way it’s done in college. Now, you still can mold them, perhaps. Before college, your kids breeze their way through high school while they’re dreaming of what fun college could be. Now, you may still have some influence before the wild parties and carefree memories will fill their daydreams and they’ll have the time of their lives. See also this post about how community colleges may broaden your child’s goals.
- Get Involved in the YouTube Awards – Every year, YouTube puts together its very own awards “show” – think of it as the Academy Awards of user-generated video. Awards are grouped together by various categories, and you, the viewer, decides the winner in each of the categories. Watch them together with your teens, vote on your favorites, and then check back once the winners are announced to see if you picked any of the winners. This will keep the lines of communication open. We did this last year, I’ll warn you, once you start poking around in the nominated videos, it gets a bit addicting.
- Explore the Most Subscribed Channels in Comedy – On the main YouTube home page, go to the Channels tab at the top. Once you’re on the Channels page, select the Comedy category and mingle around in some of the most subscribed to Comedy Channels. Most of these videos are fairly current and are more professionally done, and some of them are real gems. Chances are, your son or daughter will have already seen many of these and they’ll know which one’s the checkout.
- Look-up Various “How-To” Videos – Yeah, YouTube can be “educational” too. You can learn how to balance an egg on a light bulb, do a spiffy card trick, or shoot Diet Coke out of a two-liter bottle with Mentos. The key here is to stick to more of the gimmicky type of how-to videos – you know, the ones teenagers (especially boys) are interested in.
- Discover Hilarious Home Videos of Babies or Small Children – Who doesn’t like funny little kid home videos, I mean come on. Here’s an example of one of my personal favorites.
- Enjoy Amazing Sports Videos – Adrian Peterson highlights from his college days as an Oklahoma running back, Bo Jackson running all over the competition from the ’80s, and crazy home video high school football game finishes – these are just a few examples of the thousands of sports-related videos you can find and be amazed at with your teen. If they’re into sports at all before they’ll be applying to higher education, you’ll find this one is right up their alley.
As you can see, something as simple as YouTube can provide great ways to spend time with, laugh, and explore with your teenagers. So head on over to YouTube and discover for yourself what the fuss is all about – you’ll be taking a big step to becoming a modern Parent. Before long you’ll be hearing phrases like, “Dad, you gotta see this!” and “Mom, check this out, this is sweet”, like we have for some time now.