Social Network Spotlight: YouTube

YouTube is the leading social network for sharing and consuming videos. Users are able to view video content created by anyone in the world and can upload their own videos for the world to see.

YouTube videos also can be marked private, allowing only approved users to view them and can be shared with direct links or embedded into websites.


  • YouTube is the easiest way to share and consume video content.
  • If handled properly, videos can be kept totally private.
  • Customization is easy. Users can create customized playlists and follow users creating content they enjoy.
  • It’s easy to be creative and share content with others.
  • There’s plenty of useful videos for classroom aid.
  • Teachers and students can upload and share videos for projects.
  • There are easy to use YouTube applications for any mobile device.


  • Videos are public by default and anyone can view them.
  • Videos can contain violence, sexual content, abuse, etc.
  • Adult content and language is present.
  • An account can be quickly created, and a user can view, upload and share anything.
  • Privacy settings can be confusing because of involvement with the Google ecosystem. Google owns YouTube.
  • YouTube has some of the most vulgar comment sections on any social network.






Tips for educators

  • YouTube is very large. Become generally familiar with search and navigation.
  • Encourage students to keep YouTube videos private so strangers are not able to view their videos.
  • View a user’s video history by clicking “History” on the upper left tab.
  • Edit privacy settings by clicking the user photo in the top right, followed by clicking the gear icon in the drop down. Settings are available on the left tab.
  • Use the tab on the left on the home screen to view subscriptions.
  • Use YouTube’s “Safety Mode.” This feature is on the bottom of every page and will provide more appropriate content in search results.
  • Important links:

Wrap up

It’s safe to assume almost every student is a YouTube user for one reason or another. Although YouTube is not a free-for-all, there is a large amount of content not appropriate for students, so teachers and parents alike should be aware of what students are viewing. A user keeping videos private with “Safety Mode’ turned on can have a relatively safe experience on YouTube, but students should not have unlimited unsupervised time on YouTube.