Most of us choose to embrace technology when it comes to entertaining our children. We watch television and movies, play games on gaming devices, use educational apps on tablets and use the Internet for gleaning information and watching videos. As a parent, you already know just how difficult it can be to make sure that your children are only be exposed to what you want them to see, and there are many “bad” people out there who don’t care if your child watches something inappropriate, even if its on accident. YouTube is one of the most popular sites individuals use, and with good reason. The variety of programming is enormous, and its all free! But it can come with a price, as many users like to hide inappropriate content behind benign titles which means you and your child could be in for a rude awakening if you’re not careful. Instead of staying off YouTube all together (which probably sounds pretty tempting), we’ve gathered up some tips that can help you and your children get the best it has to offer, all while staying safe.
The most effective way to ensure your children are watching safe content is to watch it with them or sit next to them. If you leave your child unattended while watching videos, they may not tell you fast enough that something is scary or inappropriate has populated the screen. They can also click on a video that shows up at the end of their favorite video and end up watching something that is not mom approved. Older children may also be able to read and think they are safe clicking on a video they recognize. However, its common knowledge that bad users often create adult content and label it with a child’s cartoon name to stay under the YouTube police’s radar. Just play it safe and supervise your little viewers time on YouTube.
2. Utilize Safety Mode
Though not perfect, YouTube has its own Safety Mode to help safeguard against inappropriate content reaching your little one’s eyes. It flags blatantly obvious dirty videos and also hides comments, which often have profanity. All you need to do is scroll to the bottom of any video and select “On” under the Safety Mode section. Be sure to do this on each computer and each browser in your home. Keep in mind that you still need to supervise because as mentioned before, there are bad people out there who like to hide their inappropriate videos and they can still slip through Safety Mode, and that this feature does not work on mobile devices.
3. Web Filters
A great option to help safeguard against inappropriate content on YouTube is to simply safeguard against anything on the Internet, right? Most likely your older children spend a variety of time all over the web and its just as important to protect them elsewhere. A program like Safe Eyes will help put you at easy by filtering content from YouTube, instead of blocking it all together. You can add parent approved videos that will still keep your kids connected and entertained while feeling secure that no pornography videos slip through. A program like this also extends to social media, gaming and music sites that you want protected as well.
4. Use Subscriptions & Playlists
When your children use YouTube you should always be signed into your account. Technically, you need to be 13 years or older to use the site, but that’s why your supervising, right? YouTube has two great options to help your child stick to your approved videos. If viewing a video, you can click on the button directly underneath the video that says “Add To” and create a list for your child. Then you can access your playlist by clicking on the 3 bars next to the YouTube logo on the top left of your screen at any time. You can also click on the “Subscribe” button on any video to add an entire channel to your main page. This makes it easy for your children to access their videos without having to use the search mode and potentially bring up something inappropriate.
5. YouTube Kids App
It’s been a long time coming, but Google and YouTube finally designed and launched a YouTube Kids app. Perhaps the best part is that it’s only loaded with family and kid friendly content. It’s designed for little fingers and has big logos and icons, so kids can easily find what they are looking for. Additionally you can layer on more protection by using your own parental controls within the app. This is the perfect solution for using on your tablets and mobile phones, since safety mode and web filters don’t extend that far.