6 Things You Should Do About Kids and YouTube Safety
The way we consume content has changed in the past several years. As of the time of this writing, people now love to stream their video content online – and our kids are being born into that generation.
You would think so too if you considered the mammoth 2 billion users on the YouTube platform every month.
Truth be told, YouTube is a service that has dedicated time and resources to ensuring the platform is safe for all, kids inclusive. However, there are those occasional videos and content that the algorithms will miss.
That is why you have to step up and make the online portal safer for your kids. Here’s how:
1. Create a family account
This is a great way to keep an eye on the kind of videos everyone in the family is not only looking at, but uploading – among other things. It also allows you work around the basic minimum age requirements that are set in place by Google to keep the platform responsible.
To do this, log out of your main Gmail account and create another one. Make sure this has never had any Google identity linked to it, and from there, you can go on to set up a YouTube account. Share this email with everyone in the family, giving them access to opening their YouTube account with it.
The kids might change this to their personal accounts when they get older, but then, you would have more peace of mind regards how equipped they are to handle the platform.
2. Use the YouTube Kids app
Like many other social platforms, YouTube developed a YouTube Kids app. The aim of this is to only deliver content that has been toned down to the preference of the kid audience.
Of course, this is not human regulated so there is a chance the algorithm behind it has some issues sifting videos sometimes. It would, thus, not be a bad idea to still look in on what your kids are viewing from time to time.
3. Use the Age Restrictions
Beside the kids’ app, YouTube has also made it possible to hide some content from certain viewers tile they are at a certain age. With the age 18 being the common age of consent in most societies, Google has devised an algorithm to keep such content out of the ways of kids who are yet to attain such age.
To make sure this works, look to ensure your kid has spelt out their age appropriately on the platform. It needs no telling that you will still need to monitor the use of the platform since some videos will slip the watchful eyes of the algorithm, no matter how strong it might be.
4. Disable Comments
We recommend disabling comments to protect your kids from the hate that some viewers and commenters use this section to spew. That is not to mention the barrage of phishing links that are published daily in YouTube comments with juicy headings.
While this is a great idea, you should not let it go on for too long. As soon as your kid starts to come of age, you can re-enable the comments and use that to teach them about handling the opinions of other people.
Till they are mentally and psychologically prepared to handle that, though, keep them away from the comments.
5. Try the Restricted Mode
If the name has given anything away, it is that this is yet another tool in your arsenal to limit the volume of mature content that your kid gets exposed to. The downside of this approach is that it cannot be applied on an account level. Thus, ensure you know all the devices your kid is using to access the internet (read: YouTube) and turn on the Restricted Mode there.
The feature is far from perfect, but you will sleep better at night knowing that your kid is not exposed to all of the bad videos out there.
6. Create Video Playlists
One of the funny things about Safety mode, the age restrictions settings and all that is that they are susceptible to failure. Uploading mature content without telling YouTube that it is age sensitive, or without having other users block/ flag the content, can bring such videos the way of your kids.
The ideal thing to do would be creating a playlist you approve of.
To do this, we suggest working in line with the interests of your kids. Know what they like and create a personalized video playlist for them. Throw in a bunch of other cool and entertaining stuff too, helping to expand their scope and exposure horizon beyond what they know they have an interest in.
This can arguably pass to be the most fool proof of all the methods.
Bonus Tip: When creating video playlists or watching what your kids are checking out online, ensure you watch the videos to the end. This will help you get rid of a common condition where the videos start out as being safe only to lead to less than ideal content.
With that, you are good to go.
Got other tested and trusted approaches to protecting your kids on YouTube? Let us hear all about them in the comments