Adding Parental Controls to YouTube

The Birth of YouTube Kids

As you probably already know, YouTube is a popular platform used by adults and children alike to watch videos. People utilize this site to watch tutorials, learn new skills, laugh at funny videos, re-watch highlights of their favorite programs, etc. Despite all the good that comes from YouTube, there are also quite a few content rabbit holes that can take your children into dangerous territory. Thankfully, YouTube is aware of this, so this prompted them to develop YouTube Kids in 2015, a dedicated platform for youngsters that’s entirely separate from the main website and application. As expected, there is an inevitable age that children will want to make their way back to regular YouTube, however.

YouTube Kids Evolved

Parents, and older children, alike, have shared feedback with YouTube regarding YouTube Kids. They've voiced their concerns about how tweens and teens have different needs, which weren't being fully satisfied by YouTube. The truth is that older children and teenagers have a need to be independent, learn, and create more so than younger children do. For this reason, YouTube decided to work closely with parents and experts worldwide in areas pertaining to child safety, child development, and digital literacy to come up with solutions for teen and tween parents. Now, YouTube has launched a new opportunity in Beta for children to use YouTube via a supervised Google account that includes content settings, limited features, and supervision from parents. The early beta version will be geared towards families with children under the age of consent so that they can test the platform and provide feedback to help YouTube improve the experience.

Child-Monitoring Options

YouTube's process will allow parents to childproof their kid's YouTube activity, while still offering some privacy and independence. There are three supervision options that parents can decide on based on their child's age and maturity level.

Option 1 – Explore: This option is for those who are ready to move on from YouTube Kids and explore content on the main YouTube site. This setting features a broad range of content suitable for viewers 9+, such as vlogs, tutorials, gaming, music, news, educational content, and more.

Option 2 – Explore More: This content is generally suitable for viewers ages 13+, this option will allow access to even more content, as well as live stream categories that are also under Explore.

Option 3 – Most of YouTube: This setting contains almost all the videos on YouTube, except anything marked as age-restricted content. It does, however, include sensitive topics geared more towards older teens.

A System Still in Flux

In-app purchases, creation, and comment features will be disabled within this new experience, though eventually, parents will have the ability to control elements of each. Additionally, YouTube states that they will use a mix of user input, machine learning, and human review to figure out which videos will be included. They acknowledge their systems might make occasional errors but that they will continue to monitor and improve the tool by altering the abilities and options available.

YouTube also recommends that parents continue to guide and support their children's Internet navigation both on and off YouTube. Parents can get started by checking out a guide that YouTube made in partnership with National PTA, Parent Zone, and Be Internet Awesome. YouTube also plans to launch an ongoing campaign featuring creators discussing bullying, harassment, misinformation, digital well-being, etc.

We hope this article proved to be informative and that it helps you effectively monitor your child's Internet usage. For more information on Internet safety for your children, be sure to check out our articles about Monitoring Your Child’s Technology Usage and Online Predators.

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