Monday 29 April 2024

Making YouTube Safer for Your Kids

 If you're like everybody who's in their 30s or 40s right now, the chances are high that you wasted a lot of your childhood on Saturday morning cartoons. When you come home from school, you'd settle down to the afternoon cartoons available on the TV. But kids today are different. Instead of being glued to the cartoons on regular mainstream TV with advertising, they are glued to YouTube. 

Mostly it's innocent. They're looking for cartoons or obscure anime that they can't find in their own country, but sometimes things are a little bit sketchier than that. There is so much on YouTube that has been manipulated, and even though you may choose to learn how to unblock YouTube videos so that you can view them, your kids need boundaries. It doesn't matter how good your kid is, they will always need boundaries when it comes to YouTube because of the largely unknown amount of content that's on there. So with that in mind, here's how you can make YouTube safer for your children.

Image source: Pexels

  1. Only allow YouTube under a family account. When you set up a shared Google account, you'll be able to keep an eye on the videos that your kids watch, as well as what they upload. If you don't allow your children to upload in the 1st place, that's fantastic because whatever goes on the Internet stays on the Internet. But having a family account allows you some monitoring without them feeling like they're being watched all of the time.

  2. Turn on safety mode. It's a hidden button, but YouTube has a safety mode that can block most, but not all, of objectionable content. Of course, you have to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the homepage to find it, but once you've found it, you'll be able to be sign in, scroll down and click on the safety button, then choose o’n’ from the choices to make sure that your children don't change the setting. You can then lock that safety mode in by going to the browser and adding your login data. When prompted to turn it off, click the link again and enter your login a second time.

  3. Create specific playlists.The safety mode is not as foolproof as it likes to be, but if the person who uploaded a nasty video hasn't selected Enable age restriction then YouTube filter won't block it. So you need to take some additional steps. It's a good idea to create a playlist of videos that you approve of and all you have to do then is click add link. You can also subscribe to family friendly channels so that the algorithm only pops up family friendly things.

  4. Be wise with it. Be sure to watch the videos that your children watch all the way through before you add them to a list. The last thing that you want is for your children to be watching Peppa Pig one minute and then watching a live dissection of a pig the next. Be wary of gaming videos too, because voice over narration usually comes with vulgarity and profanity that you would like your children to avoid listening to.

  5. Monitor it as you go. Children outgrow playlists pretty quickly, so make sure that you're installing web filtering software such as the Family Premier or McAfee Security Safe Eyes. These don't cost very much, but these programs will notify you whenever your kids watch your video and or block the objectionable ones. It's not hovering to stay on top of your family's Internet security.In fact, it's a must.

  6. Turn off YouTube entirely.If it's too much to police the content that your children are watching, you can block it entirely using a web filter. You can then redirect your kids to family friendly websites such as Netflix for kids or Disney. There are also things such as SprogTube which curates YouTube videos for kids safe content, although these do skew towards preschoolers rather than towards middle-aged kids.

Most of the time, younger children won't be watching YouTube because they'll be watching cartoons that you choose for them. But as they get older and have a little bit more free rein with controllers, you can allow them to watch YouTube as long as it's safe. Following the tips above is going to help you to make sure that the content your children are watching is age appropriate and isn't going to cause them any particular mental harm. 

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