With YouTube in the news so much recently, it’s tempting to cut kids off from the content they love but what does that really accomplish? Our kids will always find a way to sneak the content we don’t want them to access. Instead, take some time to get acquainted, or reacquainted, with YouTube parental controls. YouTube parental controls can help keep your kids safe from content we don’t want them to see on the free YouTube Kids app and on YouTube. Here’s what you need to know and how to get started.
Parental Controls in the YouTube Kids App
There has been no shortage of controversy when it comes to content available through the free YouTube Kids App such as violent and inappropriate cartoons to the more recent news of the app suggesting videos involving conspiracy theories to kids.
These YouTube Kids parental controls features can help you stay on top of the content they’re watching:
- Kid profiles and age-based customizations— YouTube Kids allows you to ceate up to eight kid profiles and give each their own viewing preferences, video recommendations, and unique settings
- Blocking— Limit what your kids see by blocking certain videos or channels from appearing in all of your kids’ profiles.
- Watch History— This helpful feature lets you know what your kids are watching. Pro tip: scroll past the last 5 videos and do a deeper dive to get a better sense of what they’re truly watching
- Search Control— If you want to restrict your child’s ability to search for content, turn Search off. This prevents them from searching for new content although they can watch videos appearing on the Home screen. Note that this includes videos selected by the app and those the app recommends based on what they’ve watched or searched. Turning Search on will allow kids to access more videos.
- Timer— YouTube Kids comes with a built-in timer that lets you limit kids’ screen time and even alerts your child when the session is over, so you don’t have to.
- Video Reporting— YouTube Kids wants to ensure that the platform is family friend so they’ve implemented a way for inappropriate videos to be reported. Upon reporting, videos are flagged, reviewed, and removed, if necessary
Another features of YouTube Kids that help create a more family friendly viewing experience include the ability to watch on TV. This recreates that old school of watching TV with your family using Chromecast, Apple TV, game consoles, or a smartTV to watch YouTube Kids as a family on your big screen.
If you’re looking for ad-free viewing on the YouTube Kids app or want to be able to let your kids enjoy off-line viewing, YouTube Red is the way to go. For $9.99/month, parents can pay for an ad-free YouTube experience whether watching from your mobile phones, tablets, desktop computers, or television. In addition to an ad-free viewing experience, YouTube Red also features original programming. Hyperlinked, DanTDM Creates a Big Scene, The Kings of Atlantis, Fruit Ninja: Frenzy Force are just some of the shows that are created exclusively for YouTube Kids when you subscribe to YouTube Red.
For more information about YouTube Kids parental controls and settings, the YouTube Kids Parental Guide is a great source of information.
YouTube Parental Controls
While YouTube Kids’ has expanded to include content for tweens, chances are your older kids are watching videos through regular YouTube, rather than the app. ABC News has this helpful Parental control guide: How to restrict kids’ YouTube settings featuring how to set up parental controls on YouTube and YouTube Kids and restricting viewing through your phone’s settings.
While parental controls are helpful, they’re not a substitute for talking to your kids about the content that exists that may get through the settings you set up and YouTube’s filters, algorithms, and other safety checks. It’s always important to talk to your kids about what they’re watching to help them the life long skill of being responsible content consumers.
I am a member of the YouTube Kids Parent Panel but am not compensated for my involvement. Images courtesy of YouTube.