The inception of YouTube served as a catalyst for changing how people watch TV. Perhaps kids stand to benefit most from this. Besides being an entertainment hub for fictional shows and music videos, it is the place to go to get an education. From math tutorials to lessons in history, YouTube seems to have it all. With a simple search, one can learn nearly anything imaginable, not to mention how one can explore nearly every place that seems to exist in the universe. By using YouTube, children can enrich their minds more quickly and easily than we were able to at their age. We know that YouTube is gaining more attention from children, yet for every positive clip available on the site, there is just as much detrimental content accessible. Fortunately, there are several steps that a parent can take to safeguard their children as they interact with YouTube.
YouTube Kids App
Depending on the device used to access YouTube, one measure that can be taken is downloading the YouTube Kids app. Besides having a kid-friendly design, the content featured here is family-oriented. Parents like it because their children aren’t put at risk of seeing violent or pornographic content. There will be available channels, however, that don’t meet a parent’s personal standards; for that reason, the app allows parents the option to limit access to chosen videos. Other helpful features include the ability to control the app’s volume and to set a timer for limiting viewing access.
If the YouTube Kids app isn’t for you, you have the option of accessing content on channels through the regular YouTube app, which is great for smartphones, or at the website YouTube on your PC. They have designed these with safety features, but they aren’t as discerning as the safety features on the YouTube Kids app. By turning the safety mode button to the on position, search results are yielded through Google Safe Search. While this technology is not 100% reliable, it’s YouTube’s best effort to keep dangerous content away from sensitive viewers. Content that has been flagged by viewers as being inappropriate is not supposed to show up in the search results, and neither is anything that is pornographic or age-restricted. The comments left by viewers are also filtered when the safety mode button is activated.
Beware, however, that when users access the site through multiple browsers, the safety mode button needs to be turned on for each different browser. For example, if you have installed both Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome on your computer, each YouTube safety mode button would need to be activated. Remember, this won’t be perfectly effective, but it’s better than letting your children have total access. You can help in the filtering process, too: When inappropriate content rears its ugly head, flag it!
Safe Options Using Privacy Settings
Another way that you can help kids stay safe when using YouTube is by exploring your options available within the privacy settings. While this requires you to sign in to your YouTube account, having an account will also help you in choosing, saving, and searching for content that is suitable. If your children will be uploading content to the site to share with friends, family, and classmates, you will definitely want to look into the permissions settings. You may want uploaded content blocked from public view and instead just select who will be allowed to view it.
Finally, marking favorite videos and channels is another great way that you can help your kids find wholesome, appropriate content. If you aren’t sure where to search for these kinds of videos, try channels like PBS Kids, CBeebies, National Geographic Kids, or gTV. PBS Kids offers great cartoons and a live stream. They have fantastic holiday-oriented content, science experiments for kids to try, and crafts for kids to make. CBeebies, which is the BBC’s channel for kids, serves to entertain kids as well as educate them. Here, kids can watch My World Kitchen, a series of shows where kids demonstrate how to cook dishes from around the world. They can watch Numberblocks, a cartoon geared towards illustrating math concepts. CBeebies even offers kid-friendly exercise shows and rap videos about dinosaurs.
On gTV, the channel for Geddes School Supplies & Toys, kids can see product demonstrations hosted by adults and even kids themselves. This is a great place for kids to get ideas for playing games and making crafts. If your kids are involved with planning an upcoming party, they can get unique ideas here for how to entertain guests. One last example of a great YouTube channel for kids is National Geographic Kids. On this channel, kids can be a part of Explorer Academy and explore the world with Barbie and others. Weird but True! and Best Job Ever are two other top shows on NatGeo Kids. Weird but True! episodes are short clips illustrating the most bizarre of facts. Best Job Ever episodes show kids what it’s like to work in a particular career. Make channels like these your kids’ favorites for watching safe YouTube content.