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YouTube Challenges and Peer Pressure

By Steven Woda on December 4, 2014 at 12:14 PM

The digital age has moved peer pressure from classrooms and neighborhood blocks onto the Internet. Teens follow the pack on social media websites and apps like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and YouTube. The main difference between the old form of offline peer pressure and today's online peer pressure is public. When peer pressure is applied on a medium that more than a handful of people can see, teens are often tempted to succumb to it even if they'd rather not.

Before the Internet exploded in popularity, teens were often lured into shenanigans by their friends while hanging around in public parks, school parking lots and backyards. Since these situations were limited to a small group of people, fewer knew about the social pressure. Now that peer pressure is online, it is viral. If someone is hazed, taunted or challenged on the web, just about everyone will know about it.

As a result, youngsters feel an extraordinary amount of pressure to respond to social persuasions to avoid hurtful criticism, teasing and social ostracism. It is very difficult for teens to buck the trend and take the road less traveled. Many succumb to peer pressure simply because their refusal to do so will be made public through social media.

Of particular note are the viral YouTube challenges. Most of these are absurdly gross but their proponents have lured in numerous teens.

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In Case You Missed It: Man Charged in Amanda Todd Bullycide Case

By Tim Woda on May 9, 2014 at 2:12 PM

One of the more pernicious aspects of cyberbullying is that, due to the nature of the Internet, it can cross international lines. Amanda Todd was a 15-year-old living in British Columbia who committed suicide in 2012 after being extorted online by a stranger. Before Amanda committed suicide, she left behind a heart-wrenching YouTube video describing the horrors she suffered as a result of her cyberbully. 

For many months, it was unsure if the cyberbully behind her suicide would be charged, or even identified. At one point Anonymous, an anarchist hacker group, got involved and fingered a Vancouver man as the culprit. The man turned out to be innocent and ended up accusing another man living in New York.

Now, 35-year-old Aydin Coban, who was living in Holland, has been arrested and charged with child pornography, extortion, criminal harassment and Internet luring.

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Everything You Need to Know About YouTube

By Tim Woda on April 28, 2014 at 4:34 PM

YouTube Quick Facts:

  • Third most visited site on the internet (behind Google and Facebook)

  • 2,000,000,000 Video views per day, worldwide

  • 829,440 Videos are uploaded each day

  • The average internet users spends 900 seconds on Youtube per day

What is YouTube?

YouTube is a free video sharing site and social network. Anybody can watch and share videos on YouTube (the content ranges from music videos to how-to demos to amateur filmmaking) but to access additional features a person must register for an account.

Registered Users:

Registered users get a customizable homepage where for marking their favorites and queuing videos to watch later. They can comment on others' videos, subscribe to “channels” they like, or create a “channel” and post videos of their own. Their profile information is public by default, but can manually be set to private.

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YouTube Plays On Your Child’s Curiosity (and Not In a Good Way)

By Steven Woda on July 6, 2013 at 10:18 AM

On YouTube, videos of fluffy kittens or a singing mouse can quickly take a child down a “rabbit hole” and a journey to explicit videos.  According to one study, children on YouTube can typically get to inappropriate material such as nudity and violence in only three clicks. 

Take Rastamouse, a popular children’s cartoon on YouTube, for example. While watching this child-friendly material, the viewer can scroll through “Suggested” videos on the right side of the webpage. These “Suggestions” range from more cutesy cartoons to music videos with vulgar language to other inappropriate things.

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Parents, Watch Out for YouTube “Challenges”

By Tim Woda on September 11, 2012 at 10:00 AM

Internet, how I love thee: let me count the ways. I use it all the time, and my kids do, too. I don't even own a hard copy phone book or map anymore. My kids use it for their homework, entertainment, and I like that they can find how-to videos on just about anything. But about those videos...

The downside of video sharing sites (most notably, YouTube) and sometimes the Internet in general, is that they give kids ideas about not-so-smart stunts that they may end up trying on their own. 

They're usually called “challenges.”

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YouTube Has Taken Over As The New MTV - Is That Bad?

By Tim Woda on August 23, 2012 at 9:08 AM

When we were teenagers, MTV was the way we found out about new music and watched the latest hit videos. It was cool, and even better, it irritated our parents. MTV is still around today, but our kids are living in a world that is constantly evolving, and that includes music. Could YouTube, commonly known as a popular video-sharing site, be on its way to becoming the next MTV?

It's no secret that the face of music is changing. The way kids seek it out is changing, too. Do you remember collecting tons and tons of CDs? Only 50% of today's teens say they even listen to music on CDs. Radio is still primarily how they learn about new music, but music listening sites like Pandora and abound. They allow kids to make personalized radio stations, create channels of their favorite songs and artists, and discuss music with other users.

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Goodbye CNN, NBC, and FOX: YouTube is the New News Site for Teens

By Tim Woda on August 9, 2012 at 9:03 AM

We all know that the Internet has changed the way we do virtually everything, especially the way we get our news. The print newspaper is going the way of the dodo, and many papers are closing up shop already.

Our teens know that celebrity gossip, political upheavals, and world events are old news by the time they appear in tomorrow's paper, the nightly newscast, or the next issue of OK! Magazine. Why wait when they can find out about it on Twitter within seconds?

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Two Lives Ruined Over YouTube Video: Parental Monitoring Needed

By Tim Woda on July 31, 2012 at 9:35 AM

youtubeOver the years, I have seen many YouTube videos and unfortunately, the one that is permanently cemented in my mind is “Racist White Teen Girls.”  This video is one of the most disturbing things I have ever seen.  The girls who speak in it are young, impulsive and troubled.

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Kids Safety: Preteen Girls Ask YouTube, Am I Pretty or Ugly?

By Tim Woda on March 5, 2012 at 3:55 PM

As a parent, I worry about my daughters' self-images a lot. I worry about them hearing their classmates say “I'm fat” and wondering if that means they need to lose weight – at 8 years old. I worry about the sexualization of little girls at a younger and younger age.

I also worry about a disturbing YouTube trend where preteen girls post videos of themselves, asking viewers to respond to some variation of the question “am I pretty or ugly?” It takes cyberbullying to a whole new level.

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Kids Safety: Protecting Privacy on YouTube

By Steven Woda on May 16, 2011 at 2:30 PM

YouTube is quickly becoming to online video sharing what Kleenex is to facial tissue, or what Band-Aid is to adhesive bandages. Are your kids safe? It's the most popular video sharing site on the Internet by a long shot, getting more than 100 million views per day. When it comes to YouTube, teach your kids to be over-protective of their own privacy – because when a video clip goes viral on YouTube everybody knows about it.

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Teens Posting Videos of Real Fights Online

By Steven Woda on December 15, 2010 at 3:10 PM

videosNow that most kids carry their video-enabled cell phones around everywhere with them, everybody is a cameraman. This can be a good thing – we’ve all heard stories about a thief who was caught because a bystander just happened to catch the robbery on his cell phone. But it can also be a source for trouble when fight videos start getting posted online.

Clips of two teens punching, kicking, and pulling each others' hair are surprisingly easy to find online, most of them posted by other kids who stood by and recorded the fight on their cell phones.

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Understanding YouTube

By Tim Woda on December 13, 2010 at 3:10 PM

YouTubeYouTube provides a completely free platform for uploading, sharing, and viewing video content on any subject. You can laugh over a parody of Twilight, see your nephew take his first steps, learn how to seal the grout on your tile floor, or prove to your kids that an octopus can, in fact, fit through an opening the size of a quarter. Here’s what you need to know about using this powerful tool called YouTube.

Watching Videos on YouTube

Anyone can watch videos without registering with YouTube. You can search by content to find pretty much anything you want, and YouTube will suggest related content.

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