In recent years, YouTube has become a popular entertainment platform for children. In fact, there are currently thousands of YouTube channels specifically designed for kids—some of them with millions of subscribers! But how do you make sure that your kids have a healthy and safe YouTube learning experience?
These channels include everything from cartoons and stories to songs and educational segments. And, admittedly, YouTube can be a great entertainment choice for children.
Unfortunately, without the proper precautions in place, YouTube can also be a dangerous place for kids. There are many adult channels on the platform that children can easily access unless you have some safety measures set up.
Thankfully, it’s easy to make sure your kids have a safe YouTube experience with just a few extra steps.
Download YouTube Kids
Several years ago, YouTube launched a specific app directed towards children, called YouTube Kids. You can initially set up particular features on the app to keep your children from viewing specific content. You can also filter content for children eight years of age and younger, as well as older children.
YouTube Kids is meant to keep children from exploring “regular” YouTube, but it’s still important to monitor what your kids watch. You can link your child’s account to your own Gmail account, which will give you a history of what they’re regularly viewing.
Set a Passcode
After you set up the YouTube Kids app, you can tap the “lock” icon on the screen. The app will prompt you to solve a math problem. Once you do that, you can change the lock code to a four-digit number. Try to choose something that your kids won’t easily be able to type in.
Once you have a passcode in place, you can also go into the settings of the app and create a timer that will limit the amount of time your child can spend on the app.
Blocking Certain Content
Because you’ll able to access the history of what videos your child has been watching, you can decide what’s acceptable and what’s not.
So, if you see a video your child has watched that you find inappropriate, you can block it, as well as the channel. This strategy will prevent your child from viewing anything that channel produces.
Turn On Safety Mode
You don’t necessarily have to download the YouTube Kids app to keep your child safe on the platform. If they access YouTube through a desktop or laptop computer, you can limit the types of content they’re viewing by turning on “safety mode.”
To do this, scroll to the bottom of YouTube and click “on” where safety mode is prompted. You’ll have to turn it back to the regular mode when you’re ready to watch YouTube again yourself, though.
Safety mode works by filtering out adult content. It also filters out content that other YouTube users have reported. It’s not always perfect, but it’s a quick way to make sure your child doesn’t have access to adult content on YouTube. It’s also an easy option for switching back and forth if you’re a family that shares a YouTube account.
The most important thing you can do to keep your kids safe on YouTube is to monitor as much as possible. The YouTube Kids app is a great choice. But it doesn’t take long for most kids to figure it out and find different ways to work around some of the safeguards.
With that being said, there is no fool-proof option to keep your children safe. So, make sure you’re always looking at the content they’re viewing.
If you’re not sure how to talk to your kids about what they’re viewing on YouTube or you would like more advice on how to protect them from the content on this platform, feel free to contact me for information. Or, visit my children counseling page for details on how to talk to children about significant topics.