Kids love YouTube. In fact, in 2020 children spent around 100 minutes a day watching videos on the platform. With YouTube, kids can watch whatever they want, whenever they want, no matter where they are. But the platform isn’t perfect and is certainly no safe haven. Without supervision and protection, kids can stumble upon inappropriate videos and read explicit comments. Indeed, videos on YouTube have been blamed for things ranging from encouraging junk food eating to being unable to stop child predators exploiting the comments section. Not to mention the fact that it took a $120 million fine to stop YouTube from collecting data and targeting ads to children. With all that in mind, parents need to make sure they know that their kids are safe watching YouTube, and parental control software is here to help.
Recommended Parental Control Apps for YouTube
Norton Family Premier
Everyone has heard of Norton, and Family Premier is the company’s entry into the parental control software market. The software allows you to set up ‘house rules’ for your children to follow while giving you the power to monitor your kids’ online activity. Parents can set restrictions on what content can be viewed, with a large number of age-appropriate categories to choose from. Family Premier pays particular attention to children’s YouTube activities, so you’ll know exactly what your child is watching. There’s also a scheduler so you can decide when screen time should end, and devices can be locked if necessary. Family Premier works on Windows, Android, and iOS, and while prices aren’t the cheapest, the software covers an unlimited number of devices.
One of the most popular parental control apps around is Bark, which utilizes artificial intelligence machine learning to alert parents of potential red flags. Bark analyzes everything kids access and alerts you to any issues. This works particularly well with YouTube, where the software will tell you of issues with videos. So, if Bark thinks a video is violent, you’ll get an alert about it and you have the chance to review the video – a great way to monitor what your child is watching. Another helpful feature of Bark is that it gives you expert advice along the way. Although the software isn’t available on desktop, you can use it with Android, iOS, Chromebook, and Amazon Fire tablets. To make things even better, it’s one of the best-value parental control tools on the market.
When it comes to monitoring, few solutions compare with
Mobicip. From its dashboard, you’ll be able to see what websites your child has visited, what they’ve searched for, and what videos they’ve been watching – perfect for YouTube. But with the excellent filtering features that the software already provides, your child shouldn’t be able to view anything inappropriate anyway. Mobicip also allows you to set screen time schedules, track your child via GPS, and deactivate when using a particular IP address – ideal for when your child connects to the internet at school. The software works on multiple devices, including Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Kindle, and Chromebook. Mobicip covers up to 15 devices and comes at a great price for all the features included.
YouTube for Kids
It’s hard to underestimate how much kids love YouTube, with children under eight spending 65% of their online time on YouTube. Since there are billions of videos to choose from, they’ll easily find something that suits their tastes – like videos about video games, fashion, or any other topics they love. There’s much more than that though as YouTube’s content creators make some incredible, entertaining, and educational videos for kids. In many ways, YouTube has replaced the children’s television shows we enjoyed so much when we were growing up.
To make things easier, YouTube does have age-restricted videos, which can’t be viewed by anyone under 18. These videos have warnings for things like nudity, violence, or anything else inappropriate. However, this system relies on the uploader to flag their own content as age-restricted at the potential expense of having fewer viewers. There are also parental controls you can set up, either through the Restricted Mode or the YouTube Kids App.
How To Set up Parental Controls on YouTube
A service that is as big and popular as YouTube has to take steps to protect kids from adult content. To help parents YouTube has two distinct ways of moderating what children can access. The first is the Restricted Mode, which checks a video’s title, description, metadata, reviews, and age-restrictions to filter out mature content. Restricted Mode also gets rid of comments – a section that can easily be hijacked. To enable the restrictions, you just need to sign into your YouTube account and turn it on through the settings. Perhaps the only drawback is that the Restricted Mode only works for the browser you’re currently using, so if a child uses a different one or another computer, you’ll have to repeat the process.
YouTube also developed a child-friendly app, called YouTube Kids, available for Android, iOS, and smart TVs. The app has built-in parental controls that let you filter content, block certain videos and channels, and set timers to reduce screen time. However, the app is aimed at much younger children, so parents with teenagers might not find it useful.
Additional Measures To Make YouTube Safe for Children
You don’t need to rely on YouTube’s settings to keep your children safe though, there are other safety tips you can take advantage of. The first thing you need to do is have a conversation with your kids about online safety and what threats they face on the internet. Be honest and give them advice on sharing personal information online wisely and how to use social media. If you have younger children, then it’s a good idea to stay with them when they’re on YouTube to make sure they don’t accidentally see something they shouldn’t.
For the most comprehensive protection, it’s worth investing in parental control software. These solutions allow you to monitor all the videos your child watches on YouTube, so you can be sure they’re not exposed to anything they shouldn’t be. Parental control software also gives you the option to restrict screen time to make sure that your children aren’t spending too much time online.