Evaluating YouTube videos for young children

Abstract

YouTube has become a popular digital media platform used by young children. However, concerns have been raised around inappropriate video content and limited quality. A lack of research and theoretical discussion exists on how best to evaluate the quality of YouTube videos made for children. In this study, we reviewed research and developed a set of design principles that informed the production of a YouTube video rubric used to evaluate the quality of YouTube videos targeted at young children 0 to 8 years old. From this, four key criteria were used to evaluate each video: Age appropriateness, Content quality, Design features and Learning objectives. These criteria demonstrated substantial inter-rater reliability between scorers. This evaluation tool has the potential to be used by educators to assess the quality of videos for early learning and guide YouTube creators in their production of educational videos for young children.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Alessandri, S. M. (1992). Effects of maternal work status in single-parent families on children's perception of self and family and school achievement. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 54(3), 417–433. https://doi.org/10.1016/0022-0965(92)90028-5.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Anderson, D. R., & Pempek, T. A. (2005). Television and very young children. American Behavioral Scientist, 48(5), 505–522. https://doi.org/10.1177/0002764204271506.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Anderson, D. R., Lorch, E. P., Field, D. E., & Sanders, J. (1981). The effects of TV program comprehensibility on preschool children's visual attention to television. Child Development, 52(1), 151–157.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Bandura, A. (2001). Social cognitive theory: An agentic perspective. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 1–26.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Bandura, A., Ross, D., & Ross, S. A. (1961). Transmission of aggression through imitation of aggressive models. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 63(3), 575–582. https://doi.org/10.1037/h0045925.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Barr, R. (2010). Transfer of learning between 2D and 3D sources during infancy: Informing theory and practice. Developmental Review, 30, 128–154.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Baydar, N., Kağitçibaşi, Ç., Küntay, A. C., & Gökşen, F. (2008). Effects of an educational television program on preschoolers: Variability in benefits. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 29(5), 349–360.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Bushman, B. J., & Huesmann, L. R. (2006). Short-term and long-term effects of violent media on aggression in children and adults. Archives Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 160(4), 348–352. https://doi.org/10.1001/archpedi.160.4.348.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Chau, C. (2010). YouTube as a participatory culture. New Directions for Youth Development, 128, 65–74. https://doi.org/10.1002/yd.376.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Crawley, A. M., Anderson, D. R., Wilder, A., Williams, M., & Santomero, A. (1999). Effects of repeated exposures to a single episode of the television program Blue's clues on the viewing behaviors and comprehension of preschool children. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91(4), 630–637.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Davidson, C., Given, L. M., Danby, S., & Thorpe, K. (2014). Talk about a YouTube video in preschool: The mutual production of shared understanding for learning with digital technology. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 39(3), 76–83. https://doi.org/10.1177/183693911403900310.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Gerbner, G., Gross, L., Morgan, M., Signorielli, N., & Shanahan, J. (2002). Growing up with television: Cultivation processes. In J. Bryant & D. Zillman (Eds.), Media effects: Advances in theory and research (2nd ed., pp. 43–67). Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Herodotou, C. (2017a). Young children and tablets: A systematic review of effects on learning and development. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 34(1), 1–9.

  14. Herodotou, C. (2017b). Mobile games and science learning: A comparative study of 4 and 5 years old playing the game angry birds. British Journal of Educational Technology, 49(1), 6–16. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjet.12546.

  15. Hillman, M., & Marshall, J. (2009). Evaluation of digital media for emergent literacy. Computers in the Schools, 26, 256–270. https://doi.org/10.1080/07380560903360186.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Huston, A. C., Wright, J. C., Rice, M. L., Kerkman, D., & St Peters, M. (1990). Development of television viewing patterns in early childhood: A longitudinal investigation. Developmental Psychology, 26(3), 409.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Izci, B; Jones, I; Ozdemir, T; Alktebi, L & Bakır, E. (2019). Youtube and young children: Research, concerns, and new directions. In Edited book: Children, families and technology in today's society: What challenges? Which paths? Chapter 7 81–92. Publisher: Lisbon School of Education.

  18. Jones, T., & Cuthrell, K. (2011). YouTube: Educational potentials and pitfalls. Computers in the Schools, 28, 75–85. https://doi.org/10.1080/07380569.2011.553149.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Khan, M. L. (2017). Social media engagement: What motivates user participation and consumption on youtube? Computers in Human Behavior, 66, 236–247.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Kostyrka-Allchorne, K., Cooper, N. R., & Simpson, A. (2017). The relationship between television exposure and children’s cognition and behaviour: A systematic review. Developmental Review, 44, 19–58.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Lillard, A. S., Li, H., & Boguszewski, K. (2015). Television and children's executive function. Advances in Child Development and Behaviour, 48, 219–248.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Linebarger, D. L., & Walker, D. (2005). Infants’ and toddlers’ television viewing and language outcomes. American Behavioral Scientist, 48(5), 624–645.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Marsh, J. (2016). ‘Unboxing’ videos: Co-construction of the child as cyberflâneur. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 37, 369–380. https://doi.org/10.1080/01596306.2015.1041457.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Marsh, J., Law, L., Lahmar, J., Yamada-Rice, D., Parry, B., Scott, F., Robinson, P., Nutbrown, B., Scholey, E., Baldi, P., McKeown, K., Swanson, A., & Bardill, R. (2019). Social media, television and children. Sheffield: University of Sheffield.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Mayer, R. E. (2008). Applying the science of learning: Evidence-based principles for the design of multimedia instruction. The American Psychologist, 63(8), 760–769. https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.63.8.760.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Miller, J. L., & Kocurek, C. A. (2017). Principles for educational game development for young children. Journal of Children and Media, 11(3), 314–329. https://doi.org/10.1080/17482798.2017.1308398.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. More, C. M., & Travers, J. C. (2013). What's app with that? Selecting educational apps for young children with disabilities. Young Exceptional Children, 16, 15–32. https://doi.org/10.1177/1096250612464763.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Moussiades, L., Kazanidis, I., & Iliopoulou, A. (2019). A framework for the development of educational video: An empirical approach. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 56, 217–228. https://doi.org/10.1080/14703297.2017.1399809.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Naigles, L., & Mayeux, L. (2001). Television as incidental language teacher. In D. Singer & J. Singer (Eds.), Handbook of children and the media (pp. 135–152). London: Sage Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  30. Neumann, M. M. (2015). Young children and screen time: Creating a mindful approach to digital technology. Australian Educational Computing, 30(2). Retrieved from http://journal.acce.edu.au/index.php/AEC/article/view/67.

  31. Neumann, M. M. (2017). Parent scaffolding of young children’s use of touch screen tablets. Early Child Development and Care, 188(12), 1654–1664. https://doi.org/10.1080/03004430.2016.1278215.

  32. Neumann, M. M., Wang, Y., Xi, G., & Neumann, D. L. (2019). An evaluation of mandarin learning apps designed for English speaking pre-schoolers. Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 30(2), 167–193.

  33. Nikken, P., & Jansz, J. (2006). Parental mediation of children’s videogame playing: A comparison of the reports by parents and children. Learning, Media and Technology, 31, 181–202.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Papadamou, K., Papasavva, A., Zannettou, S., Blackburn, J., Kourtellis, N., Leontiadis, I., Stringhini, G., & Sirivianos, M. (2019). Disturbed YouTube for kids: Characterizing and detecting inappropriate videos targeting young children. Computer Science: Social and Information Networks. Retrieved online from: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1901.07046.pdf

  35. Pempek, T. A., Demers, L. B., Hanson, K. G., Kirkorian, H. L., & Anderson, D. R. (2011). The impact of infant-directed videos on parent–child interaction. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 32(1), 10–19. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appdev.2010.10.001.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Plowman, L., McPake, J., & Stephen, C. (2010). The technologisation of childhood? Young children and technology in the home. Children and Society, 24(1), 63–74.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Rideout, V. (2017). The common sense census: Media use by kids age zero to eight. San Francisco: Common Sense Media https://www.commonsensemedia.org/research.

    Google Scholar 

  38. Rideout, V., & Robb, M. B. (2019). The Common Sense census: Media use by tweens and teens, 2019. San Francisco: Common Sense Media https://www.commonsensemedia.org/sites/default/files/uploads/research/2019-census-8-to-18-key-findings-updated.pdf.

  39. Shoufan, A. (2019). Estimating the cognitive value of YouTube's educational videos: A learning analytics approach. Computers in Human Behavior, 92, 450–458.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Strasburger, V. C., Wilson, B. J., & Jordan, A. B. (2009). Children, adolescents, and the media (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  41. Ten Hove, P., & van der Meij, H. (2015). Like it or not. What characterizes YouTube's more popular instructional videos? Technical Communication, 62(1), 48–62.

    Google Scholar 

  42. Thomas, R. M. (2005). Comparing theories of child development (6th ed.). Belmont: Wadsworth Thomson.

    Google Scholar 

  43. Valkenburg, P. M. (2001). Television and the child’s developing imagination. In D. G. Singer & J. L. Singer (Eds.), Handbook of children and the media (pp. 121–134). Thousand Oaks: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  44. Veblen, K. K., Kruse, N. B., Messenger, S. J., & Letain, M. (2018). Children’s clapping games on the virtual playground. International Journal of Music Education, 36(4), 547–559. https://doi.org/10.1177/0255761418772865.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind and society: The development of higher mental processes. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  46. Wright, J. C., St Peters, M., & Huston, A. C. (1990). Family television use and its relation to children’s cognitive skills and social behaviour. In J. Bryant (Ed.), Television and the American family (pp. 227–251). Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  47. Zimmerman, F. J., & Christakis, D. A. (2007). Associations between content types of early media exposure and subsequent attentional problems. Pediatrics, 120(5), 986–992.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Michelle M. Neumann.

Additional information

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Neumann, M.M., Herodotou, C. Evaluating YouTube videos for young children. Educ Inf Technol 25, 4459–4475 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10639-020-10183-7

Download citation

Keywords

  • YouTube
  • Young children
  • Video content
  • Evaluation rubric