Getting started with YouTube
When used safely and responsibly, YouTube provides children a wealth of opportunities to learn, be entertained, be creative and play. However, with so much content available – much of which you don’t want your younger children to see — how do you find the correct channels and shows? How do you ensure your children are safe while watching them?
It’s important to have a shared family account for YouTube so that you can easily track what videos are being watched and suggested. I recommend turning Restricted Mode on or, for younger children, setting up YouTube Kids.
Supervised Accounts are for parents who want to allow their child to transition from YouTube Kids to the main YouTube platform. Use the step-by-step parental settings guide to help keep children safe online.
Know what YouTube channels your children watch
An approach that has been successful in our houses has been to restrict our children from watching certain YouTube channels. If they want to start watching a new one, we watch some videos ourselves first to vet the content.
Recognised brands are useful here as they carry with them more rigorous standards in terms of appropriateness. However, at the same time, they can be more commercial.
Peacock Kids, Mother Goose Club, Talking Tom & Friends and National Geographic Kids are good examples for children under 10.
Check out recent videos but also browse the channel’s back catalogue. These older videos are often suggested by YouTube for young viewers to watch next if they already watch the channel.
Tip: Subscribe to channels that you feel comfortable with. This creates a feed of safe videos for your children to browse and watch in the ‘Subscriptions’ area of YouTube.
How does YouTube help protect kids on the platform?
- YouTube Kids: a separate app made for children under 13. It allows a safer and simpler experience for them to explore. The app also has a parent-supervised experience to help guide your kids on their journey. Check out the YouTube Kids app parental control guide for more information.
- Mature content or ‘Not made for kids’: content creators can include an age-restrict option on their content not made for viewers under 18. Personalised ads are removed on content made for kids on their ‘watch’ page. However, ads are still shown based on the context of the video. Monetised features are also removed.
- Trusted Flagger program: removes harmful content from the platform.
- Machine learning : their machine learning systems identify videos that may put children at risk. They also apply a few protection tools, such as restricting live features, disabling comments and limiting recommendations. YouTube also works with NGOs to combat child sexual abuse imagery (CSAI) by reporting this type of content to the relevant law agencies.
- Reporting: when a video or channel is reported to YouTube, it is investigated. If it goes against their guidelines or policies, they will terminate the account in question. If they find any sexually inappropriate content featuring minors, they will also report the illegal activities to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).
In all, YouTube takes keeping children safe online seriously.