Back to School with YouTube Kids and YouTube Learning

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For my family, Back to School usually means a final hurrah trip to the beach with my three sons before summer’s end, a parental attempt to readjust their sleep clocks to something reasonable (time to go to bed! time to wake up!), and fresh haircuts to start the first day just right. This year looks a lot different as COVID-19 has continued to keep us all at home and school online.

Like many of you, our house feels a little more crowded as it acts as a school, a workplace, and a home. Some days are easier than others, but you’re not alone. My wife and I have been taking advantage of the incredible resources from educators, institutions, and other learners to help us ensure our boys have the tools they need to succeed in school, despite the challenges distance learning often causes.

On a usual night, the kids use YouTube Kids to watch their favorite Creators play video games or music videos but these days, YouTube and YouTube Kids are providing more than that. Creators are taking the time to share their knowledge and provide support for those learning online or in a hybrid setting. You can find content for all ages from setting up an efficient study space for elementary students to mental and physical wellness videos all the way to SAT prep for high schoolers to help everyone during this time. We’ve found this content useful for our family and we hope it provides help to you too.

YouTube Learning and YouTube Kids are supporting families during this challenging Back to School season in the following ways:

Providing Learning Resources for Families and Students of All Ages

Across three easy to access surfaces, YouTube will feature content designed to support mental wellbeing, to prepare physical spaces, and to provide subject refreshers as students head back to school.

Connecting Experts with Parents

All the change this school year is difficult for kids – and difficult for caregivers, too. We asked child psychiatrist Nicole Graham, M.D. and “Permission to Feel” author Marc A. Brackett, Ph.D. to share some advice on getting through the ups and downs. These handouts can be shared easily be shared with your PTA and parenting communities.

Partnering with PTA to Provide Even More Resources

During National PTA Back-to-School Week, we will provide videos, discussion topics, and special content to help you and your family get back into the swing of things.

  • For each day of #PTABackToSchoolWeek, we will have a themed YouTube Kids playlist that will focus on students, teachers, and parents.
  • Racial equity playlists for kids and corresponding discussion cards will be shared so that your family can start a conversation together.
  • A YouTube Kids Parent Workshop, a 20-minute workshop designed to help parents learn how to create the right online video experience for their kids.
  • ○ A very special Back to School message created by YouTube Creators and National PTA Teachers from around the country will cap off the week to help spread encouragement for this new school year.

Malik Ducard is the VP of Content Partnerships at YouTube overseeing Learning, Social Impact, Family, Film, TV and Health. Google (YouTube) is a Proud National PTA Sponsor and receives promotional consideration, such as this blog post, as part of their sponsorship benefits. National PTA does not endorse any commercial entity, product, or service. No endorsement of Google or YouTube is implied.

Ten Questions to Help You Start the Conversation

Social media plays a big role in teens’ lives today. It’s where they connect with friends and family, celebrate major milestones, share everyday moments, and discover new passions and interests.

As parents, we want our children to connect, share and have fun through social media, and at the same time, stay safe. An important way to help ensure this is by having proactive, open and ongoing conversations with children around digital safety and setting rules together for technology use. 

Instagram, a top social media platform among teens, partnered with social media and education expert Ana Homayoun, M.A., P.P.S., author of Social Media Wellness, to create a set of 10 questions you can use to guide a conversation with your teen about Instagram. The intention is that you use these questions to learn more about how your teen is using Instagram and to ensure they’re using the app in a positive way.

  1. What do you like about Instagram?
  2. What do you wish I knew about Instagram?
  3. What are the top five Instagram accounts that you enjoy following?
  4. What are some things you think about before you post something on Instagram?
  5. If you have multiple Instagram accounts, what do you share in each account?
  6. How do likes and comments affect how you feel about a post?
  7. Do you know your followers? (If your teen has a private account, ask them how they decide who follows them.) What do you do when someone you don’t know tries to contact you via direct message?
  8. How do you feel about the amount of time you spend online?
  9. Have you ever felt uncomfortable with something you saw or an experience you had online?
  10. What would you do if you saw someone being bullied on Instagram? (Do you know about the reporting tools and the offensive comment filter on Instagram?)

National PTA has also collaborated with Instagram to create a guide for parents and guardians to help teens use social media safely and responsibly. The guide includes basics of the app, a description of the safety tools, plus a discussion guide for how to have an open conversation with teens about Instagram. It also focuses on three ways to control teen’s Instagram experience, including privacy, interactions and time on the platform.

Download the parent’s guide at PTA.org/InstagramResources and start the conversation today!

Go Back to School Thinking About Your End Game

It begins again! When’s the first PTA meeting? When is Open House? Do we have enough volunteers? Where’s the budget? Who has the membership forms? It’s easy to get lost in the chaos of preparing PTA for a new school year. Want some advice? Think about the “end game” to help you focus on what matters. It’s so much easier to get to where you want to go if you know where you want to end up!

How many young people will your PTA touch this year? How many will decide to be a writer because of the PTA assembly, shine in a PTA Reflections program, get active in a PTA fun run, or have their futures open wide during a STEM night? Start planning and counting now. When the school year ends, will your PTA be able to say it positively influenced the lives of 100% of the children in your community? Think about the excitement your PTA can generate as you work toward that goal and think about how great it will feel to achieve it.

How many families will your PTA benefit this year? How many adults will get involved in their child’s education, have fun as a family, advocate on behalf of a child, or create a healthier, safer home environment because PTA provided the opportunity and resources? Start planning and counting now. When the school year ends, wouldn’t you love to report that your PTA made a positive difference in the lives of 100% of the families of your community? Think about the partners and members you can attract as you work toward that goal and how amazing it will feel to have that type of impact on children and families.

How many community members will your PTA influence this year? What services and programs can be made available through partnerships, how many non-parent adults will be become school supporters, how many resources can become available to families, children and schools because of the relationships your PTA builds? Start planning and counting now. When the school year ends, wouldn’t it be deeply satisfying to report your PTA’s role in improving your community and increasing the support it provides to children, families and schools?

PTA’s mission is to make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that movement as a member, volunteer or leader? PTA is out to change the world. How will your PTA take us all one step closer to our end game?


Deborah Walsh is the National Service Representative Manager for National PTA.