Instead of leafing through an instruction manual, children and young people prefer to look for the right tutorial on the Internet. Such a cinematic instruction manual is not only available for the operation of devices, but also for very different areas of everyday life. There are recipe tutorials where people cook or bake in front of the camera. In other tutorials technical questions are solved. You can learn new languages or play an instrument with such videos and much more.
Tutorials have become known primarily through video platforms such as YouTube. Typical for these videos is that a person explains something to the audience – often by demonstrating it himself in the video.
The terms tutorial and explainer video are often used interchangeably. But there is an essential difference: In tutorials something is demonstrated, according to the motto: “How does something work?”. Typical are hair styling or dance tutorials. Explainer videos, on the other hand, are primarily about the question, “Why does something work this way?”
The helpful video instructions can be watched anytime and anywhere thanks to a smartphone or tablet. In step-by-step instructions, experts in a particular field explain a topic in an understandable way. The videos can be stopped and watched as often as you like, which is handy for a computer game, craft or beauty tutorial, for example. This way you can join in right away yourself and take the time you need by pausing for each step.
Often tutorials are made by influencers, famous YouTubers. Here, but also with lesser-known YouTubers, a relationship often develops between YouTuber and viewer during the tutorial, which loosens up the learning experience. The YouTuber talks around the tutorial about other things that pop into his head, digresses from the topic, and often addresses the viewers directly (“Hello, dear ones” or “You’re going to fold this sheet to the right” or “Here’s what we’re going to do”). This often happens in an entertaining way.
If your child enjoys watching tutorials on video platforms, try searching for videos together. There may also be helpful videos for learning or ideas for recreational activities, such as craft ideas or tricks with the scooter.
Ask to see what videos your child likes to watch and ask what fascinates him or her about them. There are many tutorials that seem to reflect typical role models: Female YouTubers make beauty tutorials, male YouTubers make tutorials on computer games, so-called Let’s Plays. This is a good occasion to talk about outdated role stereotypes.
You should realize that the creators of tutorials are not always real experts and you should check the videos and their content. The channel info usually tells you a bit more about the creators, so you can better assess the quality.
If something still doesn’t work after watching a tutorial, it’s not necessarily your child’s fault – the creator of the tutorial may have made a mistake.
Video platforms like YouTube should be shared first, as your child can quickly encounter scary or disturbing content here. For younger children, we recommend setting options such as “Restricted Mode” or the YouTube Kids app. If your child is aware of the risks online and you think he or she is aware of them, you should also give him or her the freedom to be online independently.