There is no denying it children love YouTube. They can spend hours searching and watching their favourite videos, researching a school topic or creating their own videos and uploading them to share with family and friends. Unfortunately, not everything on YouTube is child friendly, and young people can come across some very inappropriate content including violence, sexual videos, bad language and even bullying and trolls. So we've put together some top tips for parents to help make YouTube that bit safer.
- Create an account in Google that is used by the whole family. When you make a shared Google account you can see exactly what videos your children are watching, uploading and sharing.
- Once you have signed in to Youtube via the Family Google Account, the next thing to do is switch on restricted mode. If you scroll all the way to the bottom of the YouTube page you will see an option to turn on restricted mode. This will help keep out some, but not all, of the inappropriate stuff you don’t want your kids to see. Remember that you have to save this option and you have to set it up for every browser that you use. So if you have multiple computers then you will have to do this on each one.
- Sit down with you kids and go through the things that they like to watch. Most content they like will be attached to a channel. If you are happy with the content of the channel then ask your children to subscribe to it, this will then promote content to their feed when they log in. It also lets them know when new videos are available and hopefully this will stop some of the searching which may lead them into content they don’t want to see.
- If your children are into creating videos then make sure they are signed into the Family Account when they upload, and make sure they upload privately. When they click the upload button they can choose to upload as Public, Private or Unlisted. Private means that only people you choose can view the video. If you choose Unlisted then the video can only be viewed by a link generated within the video and this means that only people that you send the link to can view the video.
- The last thing to do is disable the comments. By disabling this it stops people from making inappropriate comments on any video uploaded by them.
YouTube is an amazing resource for knowledge and entertainment, as well as a great way for children to explore their creativity when making videos. By following these 5 tips you will make it a safer place, but remember you can’t make it 100% safe, so keep having regular chats with your kids about what they are doing and take time to sit down with them and use YouTube together and have some fun as a family. Lastly don’t forget that YouTube’s own terms and conditions mean that it should not be used by anyone under 13 years of age.
If your children are under 13 years of age then YouTube has created an App available on Google Play and Apple’s App store especially for them called ‘YouTube for Kids’. Created especially by Youtube using stronger filtering algorithms to keep kids safe. Remember though nothing is 100% safe so maintain an interest in what they are doing and keep having those important safety chats.