What Teenagers are Watching on YouTube Right Now

YouTube Trend Map

YouTube is the #3 website in the world behind Google and Facebook. A YouTube visitor is likely to visit 14 different videos each day and watch 24 minutes.

With my kids, YouTube is basically a video version version of Wikipedia. Their first instinct when they want to know how to do something is to go to YouTube and type in “How do I….” The find everything from homework help to origami lessons to the latest tricks on Minecraft. Meanwhile, mom and dad use YouTube completely differently. We’re suckers for funny videos and since we can’t stay up late anymore– we use it to keep up with Jimmy Fallon.

But what are they watching?

Let me share with you one of my favorite finds of 2013: YouTube Trends Map

With the trends map you can see a map of U.S. regions, what the top 3 videos are in your area, and you can even sort them by age and gender demographics.

How Do I Use It?

Since I work with teenagers and their parents, one of the things I like to do is compare what they are watching to what their parents are watching. (35-44) Sometimes it’s very different and sometimes it’s fun because both demographics are watching the exact same things. (I love it when the 65+ crowd is watching the latest rap video!) But it’s always revealing because 13-19 year olds are rarely watching something mainstream. It reveals that new media is dominating not just how they communicate and connect, but how they find interesting stuff.

Is the trend map too much for you?

If that’s too much of a fire house you can also check out the YouTube Trends blog. They don’t post very often but the blog will help you keep up with the latest trends. It’d be a good thing to subscribe to and keep your eye on.

Just show me what’s cool

If you are looking for someone else to filter YouTube for you and just point you to the coolest stuff, head over to bestofyoutube.com.

 How can I use YouTube in my home to talk about important stuff?

Each week, I send out a free resource for parents called YouTube You Can Use. In it, you’ll find a 2-3 minute video of something interesting and create a discussion guide. If you’re looking to have a faith-based conversation with your teenager or in the classroom or even a devotional for the soccer team, you can subscribe here. Also, all of the archives are available for free, you just need a free account at The Youth Cartel.

Question for parents: How do you know what your kids are watching on YouTube? Do you check their history? Do you ask them about it?

Question for teenagers: What’s one thing you wish your parents knew about YouTube?

By Adam McLane

Kristen and Adam live in the San Diego neighborhood of Rolando with their three children.


  1. okay, your description of how your kids use youtube vs the parents makes me feel old, ha. Youtube is a very interesting and unique case because of the different ways that people use it. To me, youtube is more of a content host. The only time that I go to youtube directly is to find a song. Usually, I google a topic or watch a video on someone’s blog that is hosted by youtube. I don’t really think of youtube as a stand alone social network. I wonder if there is an age difference in how people use youtube.

Leave a Reply