There’s no question that kids of all ages love YouTube. From episodes of “Doc McStuffins” to posts from DanTDM, the video-sharing site offers kids hours of entertainment and education. Keep in mind, videos can easily turn from educational to inappropriate or harmful within a couple misguided clicks.
Here are five quick tips to help keep those little eye-balls on Elmo and off inappropriate content:
Set Parental Controls
The very first step to reducing potentially harmful content is enabling the parental safety controls on YouTube (click here for a quick tutorial on how to do it from HowTech). Parental controls attempt to filter YouTube search results so the bad stuff is hopefully weeded out. It also prevents your child from viewing material that has been flagged as inappropriate by the YouTube community or has been marked for mature audiences only by the content’s creator.
But, don’t rely solely on these settings. Even YouTube states having parental controls on does not guarantee completely safe viewing.
Use YouTube Kids
The YouTube Kids app is a good alternative to the traditional video-sharing site. Full of family-friendly videos categorized by Shows, Music, Learning and Explore, it features the characters kids love from Treehouse, CBC and more, along with features that allow adults to tailor the YouTube Kids experience to their family’s needs. Parent control settings are found behind a grown-ups-only lock where you can turn off search mode for a more restricted video viewing experience, or set a built-in timer to let kids know when it’s time to stop watching.
There are other similar apps, such as Kideos, which curate age-appropriate YouTube content.
Subscribe to Favourite Channels
If your kids have a favourite YouTuber subscribe to their channel so they’re not just clicking around looking for the latest videos from a specific creator. Subscribers are notified when a new video is uploaded, and all their channels are displayed in YouTube’s My Subscriptions, making it easier for kids to go directly to the stuff they like.
Create YouTube Playlists
Another option is to create YouTube playlists, which allows you to group selected videos together. This is an easy way for kids to access their favourite videos quickly, and ensures it contains content you approve of. Simply click the “Add to” link at the bottom of the video and select the list you want to save it to or create a new playlist.
Yes, you may have to sit through “Paw Patrol” 30 times, or get caught up in endless numbers of “unboxing” videos, but one of the very best ways to ensure your kids aren’t stumbling onto inappropriate content is to watch with them. Supervision is the key to child safety.