The advantages and disadvantages of allowing children to watch YouTube


There are a lot of English videos on YouTube that are made for people who are studying English as a Second Language (ESL). There is even an English language channel for children. So many parents want to use YouTube to help teach their children English. In this article, we would like to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using the English education channel on YouTube with your child.


Learning how to speak like a native speaker – An Advantage of YouTube

For the majority of Japanese children, the frequency they are exposed to Japanese and English differs quite a bit which makes it more difficult for them to pick up English words. Babies learn how to understand words at a young age so parents are encouraged to let their children listen to native speakers as early as possible. From the standpoint of developing an “English brain”, as long as you have an Internet connection YouTube is a great way for children to be exposed to native speakers free of charge. It is important that parents choose material that is appropriate for their child’s age. There is plenty of content so it will be easy to find something that catches your child’s interest and keeps their concentration.

When learning English or any new language, how much you are exposed to the language on a daily basis is key. So it is important for parents to allow their young children to watch YouTube everyday.

Becoming too dependent on it – A Disadvantage of YouTube

Allowing your child to watch YouTube has advantages and disadvantages.
To begin with, the video quality differs greatly depending on what you are watching.
Although there are a lot of English learning videos on YouTube, they are not all edited by early-childhood educators or language educators. Since the videos on YouTube are often uploaded based on their advertising potential and how many likes they get, some content may look like it is targeted at young children but actually may contain parts that children should not watch. Also,YouTube may catch your child’s interest so much that they will not want to put it down. Once you finish viewing one video, YouTube will suggest videos with similar content for you to watch next. Since each video is short, children will end up sitting their for hours watching the screen. Many of the videos are made abroad so content may include props like guns and other items that are not found in Japanese culture. This is another disadvantage of watching YouTube.

Points to consider when using YouTube for English learning

One suggestion is to not allow your child to use the smartphone or tablet on his/her own but to instead watch only when a parent is watching with them. It is important that a grownup always checks the video before allowing their child to watch it. Also, the bluelight rays that come out of smartphones and tablets have short wavelengths and strong energy which may affect your child’s eyes and sleeping habits. Parents should control not only the content but also when and how long their child is watching.

YouTube is useful for teaching your child English and developing his/her English brain. However, since there is a variety of content quality it is important that parents take the time to control what their child watches and how long he/she watches it.