Youtube and the new social norm
I am old enough to remember a time without internet, without cell phones, a time when as a pre-teen I felt the only thing worth watching on TV in the 70s were re-runs of shows made in the late 60s (Star Trek, Lost In Space etc.).
When I was only a couple years older than my sons are now, if I wanted to learn about something or find something entertaining to read, I had to ride my bike to the Public Library and hope what I was looking for wasn't already signed out.
Fast forward to today, and kids grow up with everything a fingertouch away, want to see your family, you can use your phone, skype or google to do so, want to play with your friends you can jump on the computer, or the X-box, or the Wii, and play games online with them.
Interested in learning about something, type it into a search, or better yet go to Youtube and see what is listed when you type it in. Youtube is probably the greatest thing going on the internet in for attracting kids, as well as adults.
Do you want to share your opinion on something? Make a video on youtube.
Want to find out how to change your car's starter? Go to youtube.
Want to learn how to start out in Real Estate, lose ten pounds, fix a flat? ... Youtube.
Want to see the latest music video, latest movie review, latest game review? ... YouTube.
My boys learn more from the computer, tablets, ipads and phones all of which access YouTube and the internet, than they do from reading books, or going out and doing. I'm not saying my boys aren't literate, they are. They have been reading since before they entered the school system... in fact, in today's common core rules schools, they were forced to unlearn how to read in 1st grade, so that they could sound out the words... talk about setting a child back, take a child who knows how to read and spell, and tell him its wrong and that he should sound it out rather than spell it correctly. But that's a whole other can of worms entirely.
One of the problems with Youtube however is that unlike school, where children are broken up roughly by age and ability, Youtube exposes them to all age groups and maturity levels. This is unfortunate for all children, because it can drastically effect their self worth and self perspective.
My son goes on Youtube and sees people who have their own sites, one very personable young man, for example, is known as Jacksepticeye, who has millions of followers. In fact he is so popular he now has toy figurines made out in his likeness, he is featured in video games like Roblox, and in published books.
My son has witnessed his growing fame and recognition, and wants to try and emulate it, but doesn't know how to go about doing it. And I am such a dinosaur who is not in tune with todays forms of social communication, I am not able to help much.
But he tries, he makes his own videos, and tapes the goings on in his life, his own reality tv show in a way, captured on youtube (see below):
Unfortunately, not many people are interested in a young boy's video, so the end result is few people see his video, no one comments on it, and his hopes and dreams for recognition and acceptance are dashed, at least until he is a bit older and computer/internet savvy.
My dad had it a lot easier, I wanted to learn how to play baseball, he taught me. I wanted to ride a bike, he taught me. The majority of things I wanted to learn how to do, were the things he had done as a child himself. That's not the case these days.
Today, how children learn, socialize and play is evolving at such a rate, the disconnect between one generation and the next is becoming tougher and tougher to bridge; children are often learning on their own how to do things with technology that we ourselves don't know how to use.