Do your kids love making videos? Do they want to be a Youtube star?

It might be new to you (as it was new to me), but video is really taking over as the way kids communicate. Many kids love making videos and many teachers now create videos of the students’ presentations and share them on apps like SeeSaw for their parents to view.

As a parent, I want to see what my kids are learning, how they are progressing, and of course encourage them.

But this isn’t new for kids! Apps like Musical.ly, Instagram and What’sApp, along with sites like YouTube and FaceBook make video second nature for them. Many want their own YouTube channel to be able to share their talent, reach out to people, express their creativity and even learn video skills. But parents worry about their kids posting videos of themselves on the web and with good reason.

You can google the cases of online “strangers” trying to interact with kids, get information about them and their location and much, much worse. But by following tips to keep your kids safe, it can be a fun and rewarding experience for them. Below are the best tips gathered from researchers and great sites like commonsensemedia.org.

Here are 5 steps to keep your kids safe online:

Step 1: It starts with respect and trust

Respect your policy on internet usage, what to wear in a video, using language that is respectful of people even if it is a topic that upsets them, like being bullied or gossiped about. Parents, it also means that you need to listen and hear what your child wants to talk about in their videos. Help them shape their message, but give them some trust as well so they can show you they are following your guidelines and advice.

Explain to them that taking the high road will garner them true followers and fans, not just people who want to engage them in on-line arguments and waste their time. Speaking of this….

Step 2: Step away from the troll

There are many theories and studies on why trolls exist, but the bottom line is that they do. The easiest thing to do is to not engage them. It might also be good to put a screening option on the incoming messages. This will allow you to screen the messages before they get posted, and keep the trolls away. This will also allow you to see any inappropriate comments or requests for personal information, leading to the next point….

Step 3: A good anti-virus software for more reasons than you might think…

Having a good anti-virus software will not just protect your PC from online viruses, it can also hide your IP address. Your IP address can be used to find your address and other personal information.

When it comes to kids, you can never be too careful about sharing personal information. Shooting your video in an area where people could identify the locale, the apartment building, or even the address…etc could be risky. Let me tell you what happened to a friend….

Step 4: Using a green (or blue) screen to protect your privacy

A friend of mine has a daughter who appeared on The Voice Jr. Her mother set her up a YouTube account where she could share her performances and her practice sessions at home. The sessions were recorded in the living room to keep her daughter’s practice space, her bedroom, private. She monitored the comments regularly as she expected some trolls or odd comments on a 13 year old’s YouTube channel but one of the comments made her shut down the account. There was nothing rude or obscene in the comment, and yet it sent chills up her back.

A simple comment:” Hey, you have a really great voice!! My friend has the same apartment layout as you, the kitchen looks exactly the same! Do you live in the apartment building X at (…) Dixon avenue in New York?”. She had kept the camera outside of her daughter’s usual rehearsal spot, her bedroom, to avoid any impropriety and yet, here was someone, watching the background, trying to identify where she lives, and sharing it out with others.

This is where a green screen (or blue screen) and green screen software, can be incredibly useful. A green screen is set-up behind the person being recorded. When the green screen recording software is turned on to make your recording, the green background is changed for a picture or video just like in the movies. Try our software for free at www.neatscreen.com!

The NeatScreen stand is incredibly light and portable, easy to set up, dismantle and stores in a 40cm by 6cm tube, so it’s unique on the market. The screen itself is a full 2m by 2m (about 7ft by 7ft), the right size for making videos or taking pictures, so you can sit or stand comfortably in the middle and even have room to interview another person! Also, the software is incredibly easy to use, especially if you are new to green screens and video production.

Focus on your content – don’t let your background be a distraction…

Step 5: Talk to your kids!!

This seems like a no-brainer, but you have to talk to your kids about online behavior. Let’s face it, kids want likes, they want followers, but safety comes first. Make sure your kids understand why safety is so important, what can put them (and your household) at risk and how to keep themselves safe online. Have this conversation with them before they start a channel, or right now if they have already started making videos! Make sure they have an up to date anti-virus software and get them a green screen for their safety and privacy. When you can, enjoy this extremely rewarding hobby with them!

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