Kids Burning Themselves on YouTube

Posted on: 04/20/10 10:43 AM | by Jonathan McKee

It’s funny when small sub-cultures get air time (and am I only furthering it by reporting about it?)

So let me preclude this blog by saying, “This isn’t mainstream!” In other words, I don’t think your kids or their friends are probably doing this. From what I hear, this is a very small crowd of kids. But thanks to YouTube, the buzz is out and your kids and their friends might have at least heard, “Hey… did you hear about those kids that are lighting themselves on fire on YouTube?”

Yeah. It’s really as dumb as it sounds. It’s like MTV’s Jackass, but for real.

YouTube has a bunch of videos of kids lighting themselves on fire with comments like, “This is (name) being lit on fire. Only the cool kids light themselves on fire these days!”

I’ve seen a few articles on the subject, not much yet.

I don’t know what’s worse, the random videos of kids lighting themselves on fire, or videos like this one from this guy who teaches people how to “safely” light themselves on fire. (click here if you don’t see the embedded video below)

Here’s my thoughts on this one: have conversations with your kids about what they’re watching.

In my house, I don’t even need to start these conversations. My daughter came up to me yesterday and asked me, “Dad, have you see the Hot Kool-Aid video on YouTube? It’s hilarious!” (She saw it at school). I told her I hadn’t. She said, “You gotta see it!”

So we went home and she showed it to me. It was pretty funny (I know some of you are going to search that one now).  🙂  We sat and chatted a little bit about the funniest videos she’d seen lately.

I find that if parents are open with their kids and listen, then most kids will be fairly transparent about what they are watching. After a fun conversation like the one I had with my daughter, parents could ask questions like, “What are some of the weirdest things you’ve seen on YouTube lately?” (notice I don’t walk right up to my kids and ask that. I start light, with questions like, “What’s the funniest video you’ve seen?” Break the ice with your kid first.) If kids share about some weird things they’ve seen, ask them, “What did you think of that?” or “Do you know anyone who does that?”

Sometimes kids won’t share everything. That’s why when my daughter was gone I actually looked up some of the recent searches she did lately as well. My kids know that I can search their history, their cell phones, etc. at any time.

As parents, we just need to be involved in our kids lives. Keep having conversations.

(ht to Todd Pearage)