By now I'm past being shocked and have accepted that video-sharing is strangely addictive. Whether kids watch on YouTube, MySpace, or iPods, videos are here to stay.
So I take Aftab's and Perle's advice and decide to talk to my kids about what they watch -- and even to watch with them. After breakfast I pull up a stool at the counter next to Evan, 14, who's on his laptop. "Show me a few of your favorite videos," I say, after having spent the past week worried that YouTube was warping his brain. Turns out he's not trolling for porn, violence, or footage of teen depravity (at least not while I'm around). Instead, he shows me lowbrow comedy like "Charlie the Unicorn," a hilariously twisted cartoon about stolen kidneys.
In fact, the biggest hits on YouTube aren't sadist or dark -- they're goofy. "The Evolution of Dance," one of the most popular videos ever with 60 million views, stars a suburban-looking dude doing every dance move from hip-shaking Elvis to the worm. Animated hippos croon; Swedish pop stars perform on treadmills.
Each of these videos is followed by thousands of LOLs, probably the most popular comment on YouTube. For every sick video, there's one that's side-splittingly funny; for every hateful movie, there's one that's harmless. And although video-sharing is a powerful medium, by keeping alert, staying involved, and talking with my kids, I can remain in the director's chair.