Last week, YouTube made big news in the wrong way as Google was forced to delete thousands of videos and ads that had been targeted by child predators. Given that YouTube is such a popular website and app for children, today’s Parenting Tip has some ideas on how you can ensure your children have a fun experience online while staying safe.
YouTube is an incredibly popular social media platform for people of all ages, and especially kids. Last week, Google announced some changes to their service in order to help protect children in response to the way that certain videos and ads would appear on their platform.
As one of the most popular social media channels online, YouTube is constantly being updated with new content from both professional content creators as well as amateurs at home. More than 400 hours of new content are posted to YouTube every minute! Given the popularity of YouTube and how much content there is to sift through, it can be tough on a parent. Here are some ways to make the job a little easier.
How to Use YouTube Positively
Given the massive amount of content getting posted to YouTube, there’s a ton out there that is good and useful for you or your children. You can use YouTube in a healthy way by watching videos together with your child and using the platform as a tool to discover fun new things to do together. For example, you can watch origami videos with your kids and practice making cranes together or dance along to their favorite song.
Remember that YouTube is not meant for children under the age of 13, so parents of younger children should make sure their children are only watching content you have pre-approved or only when you are able to watch with them.
How to Protect Kids Online
If your children want to watch YouTube on their own, a great way to allow this while ensuring your kids are only watching content you approve is to use the YouTube Kids app. This app is specially designed to ensure only family-friendly and age-appropriate content is available. Additionally, the app is loaded with parental controls that you can use to block content, channels or searches you don’t want your children to see. Want to learn more about this app? Check it out on Google Play or the App Store.
If your children are watching YouTube on a desktop or laptop, there are good options as well. Using “Restricted Mode” will block any adult content in addition to other content that the YouTube community has reported as inappropriate, violent, or hyper-sexualized. Check out this Google articleto learn how to activate and use Restricted Mode.
Unfortunately, all the settings and restrictions in the world aren’t enough to keep kids from seeing – accidentally or otherwise – the kind of things you want to keep them from. In order to keep children safe online, parents need to have conversations about expectations for online behavior.
Parents can use YouTube’s popularity with children as a conversation starter to discuss the kind of behavior you expect from your children online and how your family values influence to kind of content they can and cannot watch. A good way that parents can help keep kids safe on the internet is to teach your children about good digital citizenship and ensure they know that you are monitoring and checking up on their behavior.