Times have changed a bit since we were kids. We used to come home after school, grab some Oreo’s and watch re-runs of Three’s Company and Gilligan’s Island on the TV. Now, kids are much more prone to wanting screen time on the computer, iPhone or iPad for their after school chill time. They are watching less TV and much more YouTube. My 9-year-old prefers watching videos of cats, Minecraft and other kids playing with toys than he does watching any show on television. In fact, our family got rid of cable all together because the kids only watch Netflix and YouTube.
YouTube is mostly innocent, but as with most social media outlets it has dangers parents need to be aware of. Many videos contain profanity and sexual content, and it also allows children to upload videos of themselves. Although the age recommendation for uploads is 13+, there are thousands and thousands of videos uploaded by much younger children. This opens the door to basically the entire world, and anyone of any age watching them and being able to comment on their videos. It’s one aspect of YouTube parents need to strongly monitor. Here are some ways you can help keep your child more safe on YouTube:
1. Turn Comments OFF
People can be hateful, inappropriate and careless with their comments. If your child is uploading content on to YouTube with your permission, but you don’t want them being bombarded with questionable comments, you have the option to turn comments off. When uploading, just click on the advanced options tab and click turn off comments.
2. Turn ON Safety Mode
It’s not easy to find, but YouTube does have a safety mode that when turned on will hide most objectionable content. First make sure you’re signed in, scroll down to the bottom of the homepage, click on the Safety button, and then choose On from the choices below. To make sure your kids don’t change this setting, click Lock safety mode on this browser and enter your login data when prompted. To turn Safety mode off, click the link again and enter your login a second time.
On an iPad:
Tap the icon of three parallel bars in the top left corner of the screen and then tap the gear wheel icon to open Settings. 3. In the drop down menu, tap “Don’t Filter” and when the SafeSearch Filtering setting appears tap “Strict.”
3. Set up a family account
For younger kids it’s much safer to just have a family account that everyone uses and logs into. This way you can easily monitor their activity and what videos they’ve been watching. If you need to set up a new account, log out of your current account, go to Gmail.com, and click Create an account. From there you’ll need fill out a form and link it to an existing email account that isn’t already linked to a Google identity. Now you can set up a new YouTube channel, a shared family calendar, and a shared inbox for family emails. Any videos viewed on the account will show up in the History button on the left.
4. Create your own playlist
This is good for younger kids who aren’t too demanding about watching a variety of videos, and it’s a great way to monitor what they’re watching. For example, if your child is super taken with Paw Patrol videos, you can create a playlist that only includes those specific videos. It’s pretty easy to do: Just 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 one. You can also subscribe to family-friendly channels such as Disney/Pixar; and then those videos will be added to your playlist automatically!
5. Be aware
Some videos can seem harmless at the beginning, and then halfway through can turn quite vulgur. Watch what your kids are watching and get to know the channels they are subscribing to. For example, my son loves watching people play Minecraft…which seems age appropriate for him. However, some channels are totally appropriate while some players cuss and lash out in anger the entire time!