Move over pop stars and actors, there is a new craze hitting our teen generation. As a parent I restrict time spent in front of screens, instead preferring to promote healthy outdoor fun. Whether it is helping us with the farm chores or playing out in our 30 acres, I have a real belief in the benefits of fresh air and exercise. My Country Kids linky which runs each week could have you believe my kids never get to slob out indoors. However the truth is I have one almost teen who if I let him could spend all day in front of a screen with his pet rat perfecting his next video, learning from the YouTube masters and watching so called experts play games and pass on tips.
I had been worried with everything I read about teenagers spending too much time in their rooms as to what he was watching on YouTube and how this might be affecting his development at this vulnerable age. He has been deep in the pre-teen grumpy hormonal boy stage and the first of my children to combine this with a love of modern technology. I was regretting the PC he had saved up for in his room a few years earlier.
I continued to restrict time spent in his room, to force him into helping outside at weekends and felt I wasn’t really making any progress as he only resented my actions. The only time he would chat to me and sound like the animated boy I knew and loved was if I showed interest in his pet rat or what he was watching or doing on his PC.
To my relief whenever I entered his room the things he was watching all seemed in the realms of normality. Games looked more violent than I might like but there want nothing sinister. We talked about the sorts of things I was keen he kept away from and he reassured me I had nothing to worry about.
Slowly he began to ask me about how I edited photos and videos for my blog, we shared ideas and he told me he had started his own You Tube Channel. He was happy for me to subscribe so I took this as a good sign in regards to the content.
For Christmas he wanted a hand held video, nothing fancy, just something he could shoot his own movie clips on and edit on his PC. This has proved a great move as he takes his fantasy computer world and combines it with acting sketches around the house and garden with his video recorder and is actually benefitting from some good old outdoor fun time in the process. His younger brothers are happy to enter into his world of make believe and form part of his recordings and I couldn’t be happier than to see them all playing together. Back in his bedroom he sets to work editing.
His videos are now beating mine for number of views and people he doesn’t really know at school are approaching him to find out how he does them. Right now he sees himself as the next big thing in You tubing, I have no idea how he creates the effects, but I have to confess they are quite clever. Whether he makes it or not in this strange new world, I am delighted the silence is broken, we are chatting and compromising on his time spent on his PC and I feel he is becoming part of our family unit again happily sharing his movie discoveries with us all.
If you fancy a look this is his latest creation below. It is far from perfect but has some interesting effects towards the end. We have talked about carrying on with ICT and perhaps taking Graphic Design at school when he chooses his GCSE options next year.
If you have any tips on handling a screenager, managing time online with family communication and understanding their gaming world I’d love to hear about it.
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