According to a new study more young people are watching videos on YouTube than they are watching cable TV as entertainment slowly shifts online.

The study saw over 5,000 teenagers surveyed to see how they react with media and what’s popular in this ever changing modern climate. When asked about how they watch videos such as clips, tv shows etc. 26% of teens responded that they watched YouTube every day whilst only 23% said they watched Cable TV every day.

With an average age of 16, this survey shows how advances in technology and new platforms is molding a new generation of consumers. TV was a placeholder in most homes just 20 years ago and now the next generation are watching more vlogs and cat videos than, erm… whatever they air on TV now.

That’s not to say this shift is a negative thing, in fact it could easily be argued that the level of educational content on YouTube far surpasses that of Cable. Even more, YouTube gives the viewer the option to watch whatever they choose. Whilst you may have a choice of channels on TV the content is still curated by those channels and limited far more than the billions of videos available on YouTube.

As an example of how beneficial YouTube can be as a platform, sixth-grader Alyssia Dozier shared her experience of learning science on the site. She said: “I didn’t understand what ‘atom’ meant so I went on YouTube, and I searched ‘What does atom mean?’ and I found a video and it explained everything.”

Ginian Grayes oversees social media for Hillsborough County schools and spoke on the benefits of YouTube, saying: “It’s being able to find content that they are looking for instantly, and getting something out of it.” However she warns that “there will be times that they encounter inappropriate content, and you have no idea”.

Grayes gave some advice for parents when their kids use YouTube:

  • Keep your child’s credentials on hand at all times. That puts you in control, and you always have access to the account.
  • Take advantage of YouTube’s safety features.
  • Keep the lines of communication open. Spend time watching videos with children, and review their “recently watched” history.
  • Understand that filters can’t catch everything.

It will be interesting to see in the future how different media platforms shift in importance and usage, especially with the newer generations growing up with it as commonplace.