What is YouTube?

YouTube was originally developed to allow users to upload and share their own videos. But YouTube has undergone a rapid development towards professionalization. Among other things, the introduction of the partner program, the monetization of videos and the creative potential of the actors were decisive for this. As a result, the number of videos that are becoming more and more professional is on the rise. They cover a wide variety of genres, from fashion and beauty to music, sports, education, and even commented video games (so-called "Let's Plays"). These can be accessed at without any technical barriers or login scenarios.

The platform leaves hardly anything to be desired due to the huge breadth of different genres and topics. If users are looking for instructions on how to build an individual shelf, YouTube offers a wide range of helpful videos. Fitness workouts, for example, are also available. So YouTube is not just a way to be entertained. It's a social platform that offers a helpful video for many concerns, in addition to comedy and music.

While television has many restrictions in terms of time and space and is mainly entertainment in nature, YouTube allows freedom of choice in terms of "when" and "where" and, most importantly, "what."

The opportunities of the platform

YouTube also offers opportunities in terms of Educational content and media education. Young people have the opportunity to use videos about school or study content to expand their knowledge. In addition, YouTube gives many areas (including media education and politics) the opportunity to reach young people in a different way. Be it the integration of YouTube stars, interesting and youth-oriented information videos or participative and productive projects in connection with the platform.

YouTube age restriction

 The age specifications are unfortunately formulated in a more complicated way in the Terms of Use of YouTube   . In detail applies:

  • 16th birthday: Children under 16 cannot create a Google account themselves. Consequently, they cannot register with YouTube. Exception: Parents have a Google account, activate a sub-account for the child and thus open up access possibilities for the child, which they can, however, manage/restrict/supervise themselves.
  • 18th birthday: Strictly speaking, all children and young people under the age of 18 require parental consent for any use of YouTube (i.e. even just watching videos). From the age of 18, all services can be used independently and without parental consent.

YouTube for kids - the YouTube Kids app

YouTube offers the app YouTube Kids especially for children. It contains selected videos for children based on algorithms and feedback from users. Operation is tailored to the needs of children. Commenting and uploading videos is not possible with YouTube Kids. The video search can be switched off at  so that children can only access selected videos in the categories Series, Music, Learn and Explore . Parents with Google account have the option of creating an individual profile for each child, choosing between three age levels . Using a timer function , parents canlimit the time they use the app.

Donot leave children alone with the app, because YouTube Kids can also display inappropriate videos. There is no one-hundred-percent guarantee for content suitable for children, even with YouTube Kids.

YouTube's ad-financed business model affects the quality of the video content. In addition to educationally valuable videos, there are therefore also many videos with commercial content (hidden marketing and product placements) as well as paid advertisements before the videos. Younger children can hardly recognize commercial clips with well-known characters from children's shows as advertising in particular. It is therefore important todiscuss advertising and marketing strategies with children at . Children under the age of seven should , wherever possible, use ad-free offerings in safe surfing spaces that are specifically adapted to their developmental stage and viewing habits.

Self-dramatization of the YouTube stars

How do YouTubers achieve such fame in the first place? What makes them so popular with their audience? In order to be able to answer these questions, the terms self-promotion and self-staging are of great importance.

Generally speaking, the urge to present oneself is not a new phenomenon that has only come about as a result of the Internet. The sociologist Erving Goffman already dealt with the topic of self-presentation in the 1960s.

Then, as now, we try to present ourselves to our counterparts. Positive characteristics are to be brought to the fore and negative sides of the personality to the background. With the urge to self-portrayal also arises the desire for perfectionism, recognition, praise and admiration. Already in everyday situations we strive consciously and unconsciously to put our person "in the right light". The staging of the role is one of the most important aspects of achieving the greatest possible popularity for YouTubers.

Particularly through the genre of beauty and lifestyle, role models are provided that convey a false image of the "star next door" to many fans. Some YouTubers show themselves without makeup in their videos and repeatedly emphasize the importance of their own identity. In the meantime, however, stars are increasingly turning to commerce and the monetization that the platform offers.

In addition to the fun of self-dramatization and the positive feedback it generates, YouTube stars are not only interested in the confirmation of their persona or role, but also in the economic aspect.

YouTubers embody what their fans expect from them. It is not for nothing that they are often referred to as "stars you can touch". By communicating via YouTube or Twitter and Instagram, they give their fans the feeling of closeness and friendship or act as advisors to their followers.