What is YouTube? Why use YouTube?Is YouTube appropriate for everyone?About this tutorial


YouTube is a free video sharing website that makes it easy to watch online videos. You can even create and upload your own videos to share with others. Originally created in 2005, YouTube is now one of the most popular sites on the Web, with visitors watching around 6 billion hours of video every month.

If you've ever watched a video online, there's a good chance it was a YouTube video. For example, almost all of the video tutorials on our website are actually YouTube videos!

  Why use YouTube?

One reason YouTube is so popular is the sheer number of videos you can find. On average, 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, so there's always something new to watch! And you'll find all kinds of videos on YouTube—adorable cats, quirky cooking demos, funny science lessons, quick fashion tips, and a whole lot more.

Check out a few of the YouTube videos below. They should give you a good idea of the wide range of content available on YouTube.

Another reason YouTube is so popular: It's all about user-generated content. Instead of videos from major TV networks and movie studios, you'll find amazing and creative videos made by people just like you. And YouTube isn't a one-way street—you can jump in, record and share your own videos, and become a part of the community.

Is YouTube appropriate for everyone?

With so much content on YouTube, it's important to note that not all YouTube videos are appropriate for everyone, especially children under the age of 13. However, there are tools you can use, such as Safety Mode, to restrict the types of videos you can view. We'll talk more about this in our lesson on using parental controls

About this tutorial

If you've ever used any of the other free, self-paced tutorials on our website, you may notice that this tutorial is structured a bit differently. Rather than combining related tasks into longer lessons, we decided to break up important skills into short, task-based lessons. We hope this makes it easier for you to jump around from lesson to lesson and find the answer you need. If you prefer to go step by step, that's fine too! Just work through the lessons in order.

Throughout this tutorial, you'll see that we've recorded our own YouTube videos (like the one above) to give you a bit more context and information on certain topics. In addition to our own content, you'll find several videos from the official YouTube Help channel to show you the specifics of using the YouTube interface

Watching YouTube videos

Now that you know the basics, you're ready to dive in and start watching YouTube videos. For example, you can just click the YouTube video below to play it.

As you (hopefully) just saw, watching YouTube videos is pretty simple. Whenever you're watching a video, you'll find some controls at the bottom of the video player (and if you don't see them, just hover your mouse over the video). These allow you to adjust the volume, make the video full-screen, turn on captions, and more.

Understanding embedded videos

There are two basic ways to view a YouTube video: directly on the YouTube website, or as an embedded video on another site. The video above is hosted (or stored) by YouTube, but it's been embedded on our website. This means you can view it here without navigating to YouTube. If you prefer, however, you can click the small YouTube button near the bottom-right corner of the video player to watch the video directly on the YouTube website.

Advertisements and cards

YouTube videos are free to watch, but many now include some form of third-party advertisements, much like commercials on TV. Ads may appear before a video begins, although most can be skipped after a few seconds.One other thing we’d like to talk about is cards, which are like pop-up notifications that can appear on any YouTube video. Creators add these to videos for a variety of reasons. For example, some people use end screens and annotations to link to other videos. We even use end screens on our YouTube channel to provide a link back to our tutorials.

Signing in to YouTube

While it's not necessarily required, we do recommend signing in to YouTube. Signing in allows you to like and comment on the videos you find, share videos more easily, and even upload and edit your own videos.

You'll need a Google account to sign in to YouTube. If you don't have a Google account, just follow these instructions from our Google Account tutorial to learn how to create one

Navigating YouTube

Once you have a Google account, you're ready to sign in and start watching videos. Simply go to www.youtube.com, click Sign In in the upper-right corner, and enter your Google account information.

The YouTube homepage

Once you've signed in, the YouTube homepage will appear, and you'll see trending and popular videos, videos recommend for you, and more. If you see a video you want to watch, just click it to start playing.

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