If you’re doing work around the house and need to learn how to accomplish a particular task, YouTube has you covered. DIY videos on the world’s most popular video sharing site teach everything from wiring light switches to installing shelves to unclogging drains. At the same time, not everyone on YouTube is an expert, and Electrical Safety First, a UK nonprofit, is advising viewers to be careful about the tutorials they follow.
Electrical Safety First conducted a survey where it asked more than 2,100 participants to discuss the ways they use the Internet when embarking on home repairs. 39% of respondents said they would feel confident rewiring a small appliance based on instructions they found online, while 18% would trust it to install an electric oven. Only 7% are willing to use knowledge gleaned from the Internet to attempt to rewire their entire house.
The willingness to trust people on the Internet who might not be experts can cause some serious issues. According to the study, 1 in 16 people have caused damage to their homes after botching DIY content they found online. Electrical Safety First poked fun at that group with a short spoof video released on its YouTube channel:
Electrical Safety First has a clear agenda. It’s right there in the name–the organization doesn’t want people to attempt risky engineering tasks based off questionable instructions from the Internet. Emma Apter, a spokeswoman for Electrical Safety First, explains:
“The Internet is a fantastic resource and the new generation of YouTube DIYers shows just how much we have come to rely on it. But there’s only so much online videos and tips can tell you and not everyone will have the knowledge or experience to carry out more complicated tasks. Ask yourself: ‘If I have to Google this, should I really be doing it?’ If in doubt, get a professional in – it could save you a lot of time and money in the long run.”
The study is an important reminder of the most important rule of the Internet: Be careful about who you trust. Here’s a simpler piece of advice: If you’re looking to find how-to videos on YouTube, make sure you don’t take this guy seriously.