The #1 tech trend for kids (and what it means for KidMin)
If you had to guess, what would you say is the most visited website by kids? Would you say Nick Jr? CoolMath? Disney? Nope, nope, and nope! Nick Jr. has 7 million unique monthly visitors. CoolMath has 6 million. And Disney...well, they don't even rank in the top 15 most visited kid sites. So what's the answer? The most highly visited website by kids is YouTube. If you're the parent of a school-aged kid, that most likely doesn't come as a surprise. My kids probably spend more time on YouTube than every other form of digital media combined. And they're not alone. According to Dubit Trends, when kids from the ages of 2-15 need information, they are more likely to use YouTube than they are to ask a parent or use a text based search engine like Google. This trend has earned YouTube a new nickname: KidGoogle.
Still not convinced? Here are a few more stats that might make you a believer:
YouTube processes more than 3 billion searches every month.
It has more than 1 billion unique monthly visitors
It's bigger than Bing, Yahoo, Ask, and AOL combined.
There are more than 100 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute.
6 billion hours of video are viewed every month
YouTube has fundamentally changed the way that kids find and view media. Gone are the days when a handful of media giants like Disney and Nickelodeon controlled the digital landscape for kids. Now, all you need to be a star is a camera, some simple editing equipment, and a dynamic personality. That's what Lily Singh (aka ||Superwoman||) has! She's a popular youtuber who uses her sense of humor to talk about real world issues with kids. At last count, her YouTube channel had 14.4 million subscribers. That's almost 4 times more subscribers than the New York Times has. Think about that for a second! Lily Singh doesn't have a big budget, or a production crew, or a million dollar camera, or a team of script writers, yet there are 11.2 million (mostly) kids who check in with her on a regular basis to see what she has to say. Here's why this is GREAT news for KidMin leaders: you can do it too! I'm not talking about becoming a YouTube sensation (although that IS possible!) I'm talking about making simple, yet engaging videos that reach the kids in your ministry with the gospel of Jesus. Kids no longer expect videos to have a slick production value. And with the increased quality of smartphone cameras, you carry the ability to make your own KidMin videos in your pocket.
Here are a few tips to get you started: Learn from the experts: Watch what some of the most popular youtubers are doing and get ideas from them. These are the kinds of videos that your kids LOVE! You can see a list of the most popular youtubers for kids right here. Be real: The reason that kids love YouTube videos more than television is that the people are "real." You don't need to be an actor. Just be your real, silly self.
Embrace imperfection: For those of us who grew up on the Disney Channel, we might cringe at the thought of displaying a video with anything less than the best. But kids don't care if you flub a "line." In fact, if you do, just make a fart noise with your mouth, then cut to yourself saying the words the right way. Kids love that stuff! Get some help: Do you have some middle or high school kids serving in your KidMin? (You really should!) They're the real pros at this kind of stuff. So let them help! Give them some direction and set 'em loose! If you've never done it before, give it a try. The application portion of a lesson would be a good place to do it. Try telling a personal story that illustrates the main point of the lesson. Don't just tell it straight, though. Be silly. Play all of the characters in your story, Use funny props and costumes. Make silly noises. Most of all, have fun! If the kids see that the person in the video is having fun, they'll have fun too!