How To Make YouTube Kids Safer For Your Kids

    The safest approach to using YouTube Kids is to utilize various parental control options. While it can be pretty time consuming, setting up the proper controls provides more piece of mind in the long run.

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    YouTube is the most well-known (and well-accessed) source of video content on the planet. While it’s a great resource for keeping your kid distracted entertained, there has always been the issue of children easily accessing not-so-kid-friendly videos.

    YouTube responded by developing an app: YouTube Kids. The app works by filtering the general pool of videos on YouTube and, in theory, only allowing access to content appropriate for children (think rated G, or PG at most). Also, the app has some parental control options.

    Now, unless you are a parent who also happens to be entirely off social media (kudos to you if you fall into this category), it’s almost certain that you heard/read/watched a great deal of news coverage over fears of the Momo Challenge.

    A disturbing female figure would appear at some random point in a children’s cartoon.  It would at least leave a child scared or upset, and at worst it would threaten kids into performing self-harm. However, the concerns over this specific type of video have been overhyped, and it’s questionable whether these videos ever existed. But the fears about what exactly children have access to, are very real.

    While Momo has been all but debunked as an urban legend, there are still some concerns when it comes to children and watching YouTube unsupervised, even YouTube Kids.

    Videos can (and have) slipped through the filters of YouTube Kids and inappropriate material has been reported. This is bound to happen in some capacity, as YouTube is unable to manually review every video that is uploaded. Therefore, the safest approach to using YouTube Kids is to utilize various parental control options. While it can be pretty time consuming, setting up the proper controls provides more piece of mind in the long run.

    • You can create a different profile for each of your kids. This makes sense as you may not want your four-year-old to have access to the same videos that you might be okay with your 10-year-old watching.
    • Do you want your child to have access to all of YouTube Kids? This means the app will rely on its filters to choose videos that are appropriate for children under 13.
      • If the answer is ‘yes’, GREAT, you’re all set.
      • If the answer is ‘no’,
        • You can choose only to allow access to videos and channels that YouTube has “verified” as being suitable for children under 13.
        • Alternatively, you can add videos and channels that you explicitly mark as appropriate for your child’s profile.
        • YouTube Kids has suggested channels from trusted sources, such as PBS, that you can add to your child’s profile.
        • If you have a very young child, there is an option only to allow access to material that’s appropriate for kids younger than eight years old.
      • Once you have made your choices, you want to lock them in. You’ll have to solve a simple equation to do this, and then you can create a four-digit passcode. From here you can set a timer that will lock your child’s profile once they have hit their allotted time limit on the app.
      • To prevent kids from changing the type of videos they can view, the bar to alter the parental controls is the parent’s Gmail password (and not the four-digit code).
      • If you don’t want your kids to access videos that haven’t been approved by a human, turn off the allow searching function.
      • If you utilize the pause watch history function, the profile will no longer receive new video recommendations based on another video’s views or the search terms entered by other users of the app.
      • You can always block additional videos or channels that you don’t want your child to access.
      • If you come across a video or channel that is inappropriate, you should always report it to YouTube Kids (for which there is a built-in function).

    Just like with any parental controls, your kids will eventually find a way around them and access additional material. It’s a good idea to talk to them about your concerns and why some you don’t think certain types of content are appropriate. Additionally, most pediatricians advise limiting the amount of screen time to which young children are exposed.

    Also read: 6 Essential Cell Phone Rules for Teenagers