Can YouTube Help A Student’s Online Reputation?

, you're logged in!
May 29, 2021

Become a member or log in to learn more on this topic

Superintendents, Directors and Principals: Request a partnership on this page to unlock our resources for your whole community.

Become a member or log in to learn more on this topic

Superintendents, Directors and Principals: Request a partnership on this page to unlock our resources for your whole community.

Quotation marks

This is great info, thanks for giving me some ideas on how to start a dialogue with my teen!


Sharon M.

Parent VIP Member

Quotation marks

Josh's presentation about social media was unbelievably fantastic. Our students learned so much about what kids should and shouldn't be doing. The fact that it is such a thoughtful process made it all worthwhile.


Director of College Advising

Educator Webinar Attendee

Quotation marks

This webinar is a very helpful eye-opener on the apps that are popular with my students.


Irene C.

Educator Webinar Attendee

Table of Contents

YouTube is an app and website that can provide endless entertainment. It can also be a place for students to build their online reputation...if done right. Read the tips below for teens to build their online reputation safely.

What is YouTube?

  • YouTube is a free platform for watching and uploading videos.
  • YouTube is owned by Google. If you have a Gmail and/or Google+ account it’s easy to create a YouTube account
  • Since YouTube is owned by Google, links to YouTube videos and YouTube channels are given priority in Google search results over other pages
  • YouTube has thousands of educational videos. You can learn about something new in a few minutes.
  • For a more in-depth look at YouTube read the SmartSocial guide, Navigating YouTube: A Guide for Parents, Educators, & Students

How can YouTube help a student’s online reputation?

Let me introduce you to our intern, Jamie. Jamie is 16 years old and she is applying to college soon. When Jamie first started working with us she had no online footprint, but she did have some very unique qualities that would help her stand out on a college application.  She can speak, read, and write in Mandarin.

When Jamie first started working with us she had almost no Google results under her name. When you would search for her name there used to be a lot of other people that would show up.

Now if you search for Jamie, you get a three-dimensional view of who she is. Her YouTube account comes up first. Next, her three videos that she posted. Then you will see her Google Plus account because it’s connected to YouTube and Google.

Students can use YouTube to show their talents

  • Positive videos can turn a student’s Google results into a three dimensional version of their college resume
  • Colleges and future employers can see your uploaded videos and also videos you “liked,” channels you follow and comments you made. Go to to see all comments people leave on your page and comments you wrote on other profiles

YouTube steps for success

  • When you are ready for an online footprint (and you must ask your parents first and make sure you are 13+ years old)
  • Set your YouTube username to your real name (to help Google find you). Example:
  • Then, when someone searches for your name on Google or YouTube, this video is likely to appear
  • Decide what subject you can teach (cooking, crafts, math, volunteering, language, programming, etc.)
  • Have a friend use your phone to record you teaching the subject in a 60-90 second video
  • Edit and upload the video in “unlisted” mode using the free YouTube app on your phone
  • Rename the title of the video to include the subject and your full name
  • Once you get an approval from your parents, make the video “public"
  • Link your profile to your Twitter, Instagram and other accounts
  • Add the same clear, square photo of yourself that you use on other networks, so colleges and employers will know that they have found the right account

Keeping teens safe on YouTube

  • Children under 13 years are not permitted to set up a YouTube account.
  • When filming videos of your friends, classmates, or other minors, remember that you should never be sexually suggestive, violent or dangerous.
  • Remember “The Grandma Rule”: Is what you’re filming or posting something you’d want your grandmother, boss, future employer, parents, or future in-laws to see? Teen safety from YouTube

YouTube cons for young people

YouTube accounts are public. Anyone can see your account. You can manage video publicity settings:

  • Public - everyone can see (and search for the video)
  • Private - only owner and specific friends can watch them (while logged into Google)
  • Unlisted - only people, who have the link to the video can view that video

Why do colleges care about your online reputation?

When colleges or employers search for students online, Google will usually display a YouTube link on the first page of results. It’s better if colleges find your real YouTube account, rather than an account that belongs to someone else with a similar name.

How to use YouTube in a positive and safe way

  • Establish what kind of content is positive and negative with your parents, before creating your own channel
  • Be respectful when engaging others and block users who aren’t respectful to you
  • Create a video resume and post it to your YouTube channel. Dress professionally and use your accomplishments to tell a story
  • Update your video resume often and put the link of your new video in the description of your old video
  • If you participated in a volunteering program, spent the summer working an internship, or seized a rare opportunity, create a video about your experience
  • Be sure to thank the organization you worked with and share what you learned
  • Find an interest and post videos that tell that story
  • For example: if you want to go to culinary school, create cooking videos
  • Create unique videos and let your personality shine through
  • In the cooking example, you could focus on meals that can be made in 30 minutes or less

Parent tips: If your student wants their own YouTube channel

  • Talk as a family about their channel’s messages and themes and why they want to post videos
  • Watch every video they make BEFORE they upload it
  • Limit who can view their videos by setting them to Private or Unlisted until they are prepared to shine online
  • Disable comments on their videos to prevent negative comments and cyberbullying
  • Join the Student Branding Academy to plan and develop a positive online footprin

Share Your Thoughts With Our Team

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Become a Very Informed Parent (VIP) to get our social media suggestions in your email every Tuesday & Thursday.
Dotted arrow to right
Learn about our
"Very Informed Parent" 
VIP Program
Right arrow
Josh Ochs headshot Round
Schools & Districts: Partner with us to protect your community online

Our remote presentations (and website) teaches over a million students each year how to shine online. We teach students how their accounts can be used to create a portfolio of positive accomplishments that impress colleges and employers.

Partner with
Right arrow
SmartSocial podcast logo
Join Our Smart Social Podcast each week on iTunes

With over 240 episodes, Josh Ochs interviews psychologists, therapists, counselors, teachers, and parents while showing you how to navigate social media to someday shine online.

Listen on:

Apple Podcasts
Google Podcasts

Here are some of the latest resources at