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DEEP DIVE ARTICLE SOCIAL MEDIA TIPS & TRICKS YOUTUBE

Is it Dangerous to be a YouTuber?

Doing anything online these carries with it an inherent amount of risk, whether it is risk in the form of identity theft or risk in the form of abuse and harassment.

YouTube is a fantastic platform, but it is not exempt from these dangers.

Indeed, anyone who has spent enough time in a YouTube comments section could be forgiven for feeling that YouTube might be one of the worst examples of online dangers. At least when it comes to abuse and harassment.

The dangers a platform like YouTube poses are not only varied by their intent, but also by the person using YouTube. For example, an eleven-year-old child faces a largely different set of risks compared to an adult.

Is it dangerous to be a YouTuber? As with many things on the Internet, all but the most sinister of dangers can be mitigated by or avoided entirely by your behaviour. To borrow an example from email etiquette—you can’t get a virus from an unknown link if you don’t click on unknown links.

In this post, we’re going to look at the various ways in which YouTube can be dangerous, explore what YouTube do to prevent this, and look at how you can keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

Can I Create A Youtube Account For My Child? 1

Is it Dangerous to be a Child YouTuber?

We’re starting with children because, despite the sensitive nature of online safety for children, this is actually the most straightforward aspect of this topic to cover.

Firstly, children under the age of thirteen are not allowed to have a regular YouTube account under YouTube’s terms of service.

The only way a young child could be a YouTuber (without breaking the rules) is if they are YouTubing with an adult, such as their parent.

The child could appear in the adult’s videos, or the child could entirely run the channel while the adult manages things from behind the scenes. Either way, there will be an adult there who can guide the child through various Internet pitfalls they might otherwise have fallen down. Most social media platforms have similar rules regarding age, meaning you shouldn’t have to worry about your child being exposed to the less savoury denizens of the web.

They could lie about their age, of course. Sites like Twitter don’t have any kind of age verification, how you handle that will be down to your own parenting style.

Once your children are older than thirteen, however, they are allowed to sign up for a wide range of platforms, like YouTube and Facebook. However, they will still be a minor under your care, and you would still be legally within your rights to prevent them from doing so.

Again, this is a decision that would have to be made by you based on your parenting style. You an read my blog on setting up a YouTube channel for your child here.

If you choose to allow your child onto the Internet, you must prepare them for what they may find. Have a real conversation with them about the risks, and about how people on the Internet can be less than pleasant sometimes.

Give them a thorough grounding in the basics, such as not giving usernames and passwords out, and how to spot a shady site. These are all things that your child will need to learn regardless, so getting a head start can’t hurt.

Is it Dangerous to be an Adult YouTuber?

The dangers of being a YouTuber as an adult are not much different from the general dangers of being on the Internet. Things like identity theft, fraud, and general mental well-being are all things to look out for.

If, however, you become a famous YouTuber, you should be prepared for the responsibility that brings. A person with a few thousand subscribers can make an ill-advised statement or be rude to someone, or let a bit of personal information slip out, and the world will keep turning.

A YouTuber with perhaps a few hundred thousand subscribers may see significant consequences from such behaviour. And a YouTuber with a few million subscribers could make mainstream media headlines from it.

While we understand the desire to rush to success, building a following as you would have with a successful YouTube channel is best done slowly for several reasons, not least of which is it gives you time to grow and adapt to your newfound popularity.

Another way in which being a YouTuber can be dangerous is in the real world implications of your content.

Granted, this probably won’t affect someone who is making inoffensive life hack videos, but if you have opinions of a controversial nature, and you are voicing them in your videos, it could have harmful side effects. In today’s reactionary world, your job could literally be at stake. And, while we might all have the dream of going full time with our YouTube channel, most of us still have to work a day job in the beginning.

Is it Safe to Have a YouTube Channel?

What Can YouTubers do to Keep the Negativity Away?

Beyond simply ignoring negative comments, there are things you can do as a YouTuber to keep yourself, your channel, and your community as safe as possible.

Obviously, shutting down comments entirely and not having a presence on other social media platforms will all but eliminate the opportunity for bad faith actors; however, it will also hamper your ability to grow as a channel since community involvement is crucial in the early stages of your YouTube adventure.

So, with that in mind, we’re going to assume that you don’t plan to lock your channel and social media down altogether.

Set the Tone From the Start

Think of unwanted audience behaviour like a bad habit. It is much easier to cut it off at the start than it is to deal with once it has had time to take root and become ingrained. If you make it clear from the beginning that particular behaviour will not be tolerated, and enforce those standards wherever you can, it will be far less likely that you will have a problematic audience when you start to grow as a channel.

Of course, what one channel considers unacceptable may be fine for another channel. Swearing is an example of something that can be fine depending on the channel and the community.

The point is that by setting the tone early on, you’ll have less to deal with as you grow. You may even reach a point where your community polices itself.

If it is established that you do not allow profanity in your comments section, your audience will likely start letting newcomers know when they are behaving in a manner that is not in keeping with your community.

This also applies to behaviour that, while perhaps not offensive in nature, is nonetheless a bad precedent to set. For example, while getting involved with your community is a great way to grow your audience early on, it’s important to establish boundaries.

If you make yourself too available—beyond any reasonable expectation your viewers should have—you set the expectation that you will be similarly available in the future. And, as your audience grows, it will become more challenging to devote enough time to these kinds of interactions. This can lead to a negative reaction from your viewers, who feel they are being snubbed.

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Separate Your Online Life From Your Real Life

Being a YouTuber can sometimes lead to problems in your real life. Those problems may be small, such as mild embarrassment over a family member seeing one of your videos, or very serious, such as your employer seeing you say or do something controversial that leads to your firing.

You may not feel like you have anything to hide from your real life, and you may be entirely correct. However, it can still sometimes be good practice to separate your YouTube personality from real life if possible. You can do this using a pseudonym, or being virtually faceless on your channel (though this can have longer-term branding implications).

You can also keep the two separate by not sharing YouTube things on your personal accounts, and not linking personal things to your YouTube account. A common practice is to have a private Facebook page where you can communicate with friends and family online, reserving places like Twitter for your “YouTube persona”.

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Take Extra Care With Your Personal Data

There is a myriad of ways in which sensitive personal data can find its way into the public domain. For example, did you know that when you register a domain name, the details of the owner are publicly available unless you pay extra to keep them private? What’s worse is this data typically includes your address.

Another example would be giving out your address to receive packages from viewers, or sending a package to a viewer and having your home as the return address.

It is also worth putting a little extra effort into making sure your videos are free from any sensitive information. For example, if you do an unboxing video, make sure the packing label is removed or covered up before you start filming.

Preparing Yourself Mentally

While the material risks of being a YouTuber are very real, many dangers are less obvious and can creep up on you if you are not prepared for them.

Lack of Privacy

It may seem silly to think that a lack of privacy could be an issue for someone who chooses to put themselves online in a very public way, but as we mentioned above, there should be boundaries.

Still, even with firm boundaries in place, you are putting yourself out there, and there is an unavoidable degree of vulnerability about that.

Criticism

Following directly on from that, there is the criticism. There will always be a negative contingent online who are looking to say unhelpful and hurtful things. As a YouTuber, you need to become proficient at recognising the line between criticism and insults.

Legitimate criticism should be taken on board, as it can help your channel grow, whereas insults and general hurtful behaviour serve no purpose. If a person is looking to hurt you and nothing more, you won’t gain anything by attempting to mollify them, and their words should be dismissed as they have no objective merit.

Or, to put it another way, you wouldn’t ask a friend who hates Chinese food for recommendations on where to get Chinese, so why would you listen to opinions about your YouTube channel from someone who just doesn’t like your channel.

Lack of Understanding

While YouTube has become huge over the last decade or so, and made many people very rich and very famous, it is still covered by the shadow of scepticism when it comes to people who do not spend much time on the Internet. Unfortunately, for many of us, our families and friends will include a certain number of these sceptics.

Explaining what you do and gaining the understanding of people like this can be difficult. This is especially the case if you are hoping for a supportive reaction from your friends and family if you decide to move into YouTubing full time.

The best you can do in these situations is explain things as honestly as you can, let them know how important it is to you, and then try to move past it if they refuse to take it seriously. Try not to hold grudges—YouTube is relatively new, and the idea of a YouTube career is even newer. It’s not entirely unreasonable of them to have a little skepticism about it.

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Lack of Patience

Unlike the last one, this one is on you. Succeeding on YouTube takes time. Attempts to cheat the system and speed things along usually end in YouTube redressing the balance—sometimes by deleting your subscribers—so there is no quick fix to success.

If you do not have the patience for the YouTube long haul, there is a very real danger that you will run out of steam and quit.

It can help to visualise your goals, but never be anything less than brutally honest with yourself about the rate of growth you can expect. That way, you won’t be disappointed when you aren’t an overnight success.

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DEEP DIVE ARTICLE SOCIAL MEDIA TIPS & TRICKS YOUTUBE

Is it Safe to Have a YouTube Channel?

Internet security has never been as prevalent in the public consciousness as it is now. With significant data breaches a seemingly regular occurrence in the news, double factor authentication increasingly becoming a minimum requirement, and restrictions on how your passwords can be structured making them almost impossible to remember, it’s clear that security is important.

But staying safe online is not just about secure passwords. We have never been more visible than we are right now. We have pages and pages of tweets and Facebook posts and Instagram pics, and much of it is public. Now, be honest with yourself—do you consider the full privacy implications of your social media posts before you hit send?

This post is about YouTube, so you may wonder why we’re talking about Facebook and Twitter, but all will become clear soon enough.

Still, is it safe to have a YouTube channel? Yes, if you are careful. As you grow make sure you think of privacy long term. Always pick safe secure passwords and try not to post your entirely life on the internet – that’s when it gets extremely risky.

Let’s get into it.

Is it Safe to Have a YouTube Channel?

How Can Youtube be Dangerous?

There are different ways in which YouTube could be considered dangerous to the YouTuber posting videos, and it is essential to understand what these ways are if you have any hope of avoiding them. Let’s start with the least sinister one.

Putting All Your Eggs in the YouTube Monetisation Basket

YouTube has a patchy history when it comes to monetisation. It has made a lot of people rich, but it is also notoriously unreliable as an income source. If you’ve been in the YouTube stratosphere for a while, you’ll have heard of the “adpocalypse”.

If you’ve been around long enough, you’ll have heard of multiple adpocalypses.

This is the label name given to the various times that YouTube has made profound, seismic changes to its advertising policies and algorithms. These changes tend to negatively affect YouTuber revenue across the board, and even wipe it out entirely in some cases. One of the more recent adpocalypse’s (the fourth one, if we’re counting) saw many political punditry channels lose all of their revenue more or less overnight. And we’re talking channels with millions of subscribers here.

More recent changes have hit channels whose primary audience is children, with offensive and hateful content being targeted quite early on.

Whether you feel YouTube is overreacting in any of these cases or not isn’t the point here. The point is that in each of these cases, YouTube made significant changes—often without warning—that wiped out entire revenue streams overnight, and there’s no reason to believe it won’t happen again. So what’s the danger here?

The danger lies in your YouTube success reaching a point where you can afford to go full time, and rushing into it. Many people would happily scrape by as a YouTuber rather than make a comfortable wage doing a job they don’t like, but if you take that plunge before you are ready, and YouTube makes changes that hit your channel, you may find yourself in a very sticky situation.

How to Avoid This

First and foremost, don’t rush into a fulltime YouTube career. Be sure to weigh up your options properly, and discuss things with anyone who is likely to be affected by your decision, such as a partner you live with.

If you decide to take the leap, take your time with the transition. Try to build up a reserve of savings if you don’t already have one—at least enough money to cover a few months of living expenses—and the more, the better. That way, if things go wrong, you’ve got a bit breathing room to decide what your next move will be.

Going forward, always be on the lookout for ways to diversify your revenue streams. If you are getting your income from multiple sources, then the sudden disappearance of YouTube monetisation will not hit you as hard. Consider things like Patreon and merchandise sales. Brand deals are another way to monetise your videos without having to worry about what YouTube is planning.

Affiliate marketing can be a great long term source of income but can be a little confusing. I wrote a huge deep dive into affiliate marketing for beginners which will help you with everything you need to know about to

Is it Safe to Have a YouTube Channel? 1

Personal Data

While not strictly a YouTube problem, the opportunities to inadvertently give away potentially damaging personal data as a YouTuber are greater—especially if you are or become popular.

The kinds of personal data we are talking about here include any information that could be used to commit fraud against you.

Let’s look at an example.

You know those security questions you often have to fill out? Things like “What was your mother’s maiden name?”, and, “What was the name of your first pet?”. If you use the real answers to those questions, and you happen to mention that bit of information in a video, you could be providing someone with a vital piece of the puzzle if they want to break into your accounts. It is easily done. After all—what’s the harm in mentioning that your first pet was a cat called Fluffy, right?

Another example of this kind of danger would be inadvertently showing a password or other sensitive information in your video. One example might be doing an unboxing video and having a clear shot of the address label. Another might be signing up for something in the video and typing a password in clear text that you use for other accounts.

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How to Avoid This

Try to avoid the possibility of situations like those mentioned above happening in the first place. If you are doing an unboxing video, make sure any labels are covered up, that way you don’t have to worry about whether they end up in the shot.

The best way to prevent any of this from getting to your channel, of course, it a watchful eye in the editing process. If you don’t have an editing process, it might be time to develop one. Even if you only watch the video through to check for problems like this, you should always give your footage the once over before publishing. If nothing else it is a matter of quality control, but it also allows you to make absolutely sure you haven’t inadvertently filmed a clear shot of your credit card!

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Personal Safety

We mentioned the word “sinister” earlier on in the post, and with good reason. It is an unfortunate reality of the human experience that there are deeply unpleasant people out there. These may be people you know from your real life, such as abusive family members or people who have a grudge against you, but the Internet has its fair share of unpleasant strangers as well.

It is one thing receiving a threat of physical violence from a stranger on the Internet when they know nothing about you, but it’s an entirely different prospect when that stranger has managed to piece together your home address from the information you’ve sprinkled throughout your videos. This is something that the popular YouTuber and Twitch streamer Sweet Anita has had to deal with recently. Her situation has progressed to the point that she even had to take a restraining order out against one unhinged individual who figured out where she lived and even moved to her town permanently.

Of course, this is an extreme example, but it is not nearly as uncommon as it should be, and while most threats of violence are just that—threats—it is something that every YouTuber should be aware of going in.

How to Avoid This

The kinds of people who behave like this are not particularly prone to reason, so there is no sense in attempting to moderate your content so as not to attract the attention of dangerous individuals.

Unfortunately, the only way to really protect against this kind of thing is to keep an airtight lockdown on your personal information. Don’t let any private information become public. Doing this means careful consideration of your actions outside of YouTube, but that’s where our next topic comes in…

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Keeping Your Private Information Private

Okay, most of us know not to go sharing bank details through random links, and to use a password that isn’t easily guessable, but there are many ways to inadvertently give away your personal data that are not as obvious.

For example, when you register a domain name, the name and address you register it under is publicly available and easy to find unless you pay for domain privacy protection.

Another way you might not have considered is geotagged information. For example; location data on your pictures, or routes from your latest run. It can be very tempting to share your latest Strava personal best but have you considered what information your route gives away. If you started and finished at your home, that’s not going to take much deciphering. Still, any run in your local area will allow nefarious actors to narrow down your location.

Do you use your real name on YouTube and also have a LinkedIn profile that lists your current employer? What about pictures from your home where distinguishable landmarks are visible in the shot?

Of course, there is such a thing as being paranoid, and there is only so much you can reasonably do to keep yourself safe before it becomes more practical just to stop being on YouTube altogether. A significant portion of this is knowing the risks, even if you don’t plan to mitigate all of them.

Tips for Staying Safe

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this post, so we thought it would be nice to break down some of the more actionable tips for keeping yourself safe as a YouTuber.

This is not necessarily a “bare minimum” situation since every action you take should be subjectively judged on what is best for you, but these are some of the more fundamental aspects of YouTube safety. In other words, make sure you have a good reason for not doing any of the following.

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Keep Your Residence Private

For most of us, our home is our set. Having a separate “studio” is a luxury that many can’t justify. Still, that doesn’t mean your home has to be recognisable.

Try to limit filming to areas where nothing distinguishable is around. For example, if you live in an apartment in New York with the Empire State Building behind you, avoid shooting with the window behind you.

Of course, it should go without saying that you shouldn’t give out your address.

Do Not Let Trackable Information Become Public

We have mentioned avoiding things like packing labels being visible in your video, but there are other ways information like that can get out. For example, if you accept packages from viewers, do not use your home address for the delivery of those packages. PO boxes may cost money, but they should be considered essential if you want to give your viewers a mailing address.

Consider using services like Google Voice instead of any landline phone numbers.

And, finally, while it may not seem like a big deal, consider keeping your birthday private, especially if your full name is public. A lot of information can be uncovered about someone with just their full name and a birthday.

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Do Not Make Travel Plans Public

This tip is more of a general Internet safety tip, rather than a YouTube specific one, but announcing to the world that your house will be empty for two weeks is not a great plan.

Especially if you are a notable figure on YouTube. If you’ve handled yourself carefully, it won’t matter because no one will know your home address, but it’s better not to run the risk and come home to a ransacked house.

Google Yourself

We know it’s generally considered vain and narcissistic to Google your own name, but you will be doing it for a good reason. Your aim is to try and stalk yourself and see what you can find out.

Remember, unless you’re a cyber-security expert, the chances are there will be people out there who can find more than you can. So, if you manage to uncover personal information about yourself through a bit of intensive Googling, you can bet others can as well.

Use this information to shut down any leaks in your online privacy, and keep you and your loved ones safe.