TikTok is known for this and Instagram has come up with Reels followed suit. Now also YouTube has introduced the short video format for its app. It’s called YouTube Shorts, and it can be an exciting addition to YouTube content for kids and teens.
With YouTube Shorts, users can watch short videos on the go on their smartphones. So-called creators can also record their own short videos in portrait format with the YouTube app. The clips last a maximum of 60 seconds.
The short videos on YouTube appear in a separate section in the smartphone app. As soon as a short video – often tagged with the hashtag #shorts – is selected, it appears on the entire smartphone display. A swipe from the bottom to the top displays new videos. YouTube‘s recommendation algorithm decides which videos are shown: Based on previously viewed videos, presumed interests and the alleged taste of the respective viewer are calculated. The short videos can also be viewed on the computer or laptop.
Shorts are in the rules very entertaining and entertaining. For kids and teens, this can be a reason to spend even more time on YouTube. Also, YouTube Shorts can be an incentive to upload clips yourself. This is because videos that were not professionally shot also appear in the new section. Creators with few followers and without much technical equipment can get attention this way. This was previously very difficult and rather unrealistic due to the many, professionally designed videos on YouTube.
Similar to TikTok YouTube Shorts can be very addictive, so kids and teens spend more time on it than they would like or should. The recommendation algorithm contributes to this. One swipe up is enough to watch the next video. Closing YouTube Shorts can therefore be very difficult. Watching the videos can also expose children and young people to inappropriate content .
Like other social media apps, there are communication risks when children and young people disseminate their own content online and share it with other users – such as negative and hurtful comments or cybergrooming.
Since YouTube Shorts can only be used in a beta version (= preliminary version) so far, it remains to be seen whether the provider will add further setting options.
Talk to your child about whether they use YouTube shorts and, if so, why. What does he like about it and what clips does he like to watch? Risks of use should also be discussed. Pay attention to how much time your child spends with YouTube shorts and with media in general. A media use agreement can help maintain a reasonable usage time. Does your child want to upload videos themselves? Then talk about what content should and shouldn’t be published. There is also an option to share videos only with selected people. Show your child how to block and report other users. This is important in case it receives inappropriate comments or messages. Your child should know that he or she can turn to you at any time.