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Gen Z Chooses YouTube Over Books for Learning

Gen Z continues to shake up many long-standing traditions and ways of doing things. New research from Pearson, a global education company, has revealed that Gen Z kids like learning from YouTube more than printed books. The research was conducted by the Harris Poll company. The company researched over 2,500 Millennials and Gen Zers to find differences and similarities. The research revealed that nearly 60% of Gen Zers prefer YouTube for learning compared to 47% who prefer using printed books. In contrast, 60% of Millennials prefer printed books over YouTube. Gen Zers spend an average of 3 plus hours a day on YouTube. And 55% say YouTube has already contributed to their education. But one thing that hasn't changed is the impact of teachers. Nearly 80% say teachers are very important to learning and development.

Self-directed learning is also a preference of Gen Zers. 71% say they try to figure out problems on their own first via the internet and other sources. YouTube is the number one popular brand among kids ages 6 to 12. This means it should be no surprise that they turn to YouTube for help learning as well. What does this mean for children's ministry? Here are a few thoughts... Gen Zers are visual learners. They prefer to watch a video over listening to a lecture. Think of ways you can bring video into your lessons at church. I don't think the entire lesson should be video-based, but at least 50% should be by video. The key is balancing live teaching with video teaching. Engagement must be our goal. And if you want to engage today's kids, then make at least 50% of your time using video content. This includes video songs, games, the lesson and lesson review. Consider starting a YouTube channel for your ministry. You can do it. If you can't afford to buy cameras, lights, audio equipment, etc. don't worry. Grab your phone camera and start recording footage. Do some small editing work on it and publish it on your channel. You can use your channel for teaching, memory verse learning, updates about the ministry and more. You can also have contests where kids and parents can upload a short video about specific topics. Here's an example. You share a lesson about Noah and the ark. Then you can challenge the kids to make a short video at home about Noah and the ark and upload it to the YouTube channel. You can then show a few of the videos the following week.

Make sure you don't lose the human touch. Although kids love all things video, they also long for human interaction. Balance the video time with discussion times, game times, prayer times, etc. with a leader. Seeing a kid come in and be engaged with a video is a good thing. Hearing that they watched the video at home is a good thing. But if they don't hear their name spoken, if they aren't personally prayed for and if they don't have a caring adult leader in the picture, their spiritual growth will be hindered. Get parents involved. Obviously anytime you are talking about online initiatives, you need to bring parents into the picture. Point parents to the YouTube channel and encourage them to guide the discussions, insights, etc. for their child.

Ask follow up questions from the previous week's YouTube video. Put some cues in that kids can watch for and then report back on at church for a reward.

Keep it simple and short. Today's kids will disengage with a video if it is goes too long. Keep videos 3 to 5 minutes.

Are you like me? Anytime I need to know how to fix something around the house, I turn to YouTube for help. It's understandable why kids would prefer the same format to learn.

Your turn. Are you using YouTube for your ministry? What other thoughts, ideas or insight do you have for video and Gen Z? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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