YouTube is the largest video platform with millions of users. It is full of fun, useful, but also bizarre films, from tasteless to downright harmful for children. You don’t want them to look at images like this. But how do you prevent that?
Very small children are not aware of their environment and cannot actually be watched on YouTube independently, without the risk that they will come across a harmful video. YouTube offers very few options for blocking videos. And youtube likes views and like kids stuff as Google (owner of YouTube) has developed YouTube Kids, a children’s version of the platform especially suitable for toddlers and preschoolers.
You realize it is not a watertight system. In other countries, titles like Peppa Big or Mickey Mouse have been misused to show children harmful versions of these cartoons. So always stay close, even when your child is watching YouTube Kids.
A limited Mode in Youtube
YouTube 200x200YouTube Kids is less suitable for older children. Then you can use the ‘Restricted mode’ of regular YouTube. This blocks the most harmful movies. Google uses all kinds of signals to detect and filter potentially harmful content, such as the title, description and metadata (underlying information) of videos. But user reviews and age restrictions are also used. This system is also not watertight, YouTube is simply too big for that. But it is always better than having your child watch unfiltered videos. To use limited mode, you must have a Google account and be logged in. To be sure, check all Google privacy settings.
Then follow these steps:
- Go to YouTube.com and log in
- Click on ‘Settings’ on the left side of the menu
- Click at the bottom of the page on ‘Limited mode’
- Just scroll down, otherwise, you will not see the options
- Click on ‘On’ and then on ‘Save’.
If you come across something that is inappropriate, you can mark it as such:
- Click on the three gray dots at the bottom right of the video.
- Then click on ‘report’, there you can indicate what you find inappropriate about the video.
Turn off Automatic Playback
A standard-setting on YouTube is ‘automatic play’. This ensures that the next one starts automatically after each video. To prevent your child from ending up in an endless series of wrong videos, you can turn this feature off. If you watch a video, you will see an ‘Autoplay’ above the suggestion list on the right. With this, you can switch the automatic playback on and off.
Videos Can Be Confusing for Children
YouTube is also a platform for video artists. Some videos contain impressive effects that are sometimes indistinguishable from real ones. This can sometimes be confusing, especially for small children. Talk to your child about what you can do with video to make it look real.
For older children, vloggers are a good topic for discussion. Some earn a lot of money by promoting products. The videos appear very spontaneous as if the vlogger happened to have bought and tried the product. Meanwhile, there are specialized media companies behind it who want to make the vlogger as popular as possible with a complete marketing strategy. Explain to your child how this works and that not everything on YouTube is as real as it seems.
Block YouTube Completely
The only way to prevent your children from seeing harmful videos on YouTube is to block it completely. The possibilities to block videos on the platform are downright disappointing.
By creating an account for your child and linking it to a digital family environment, you can set your child to not be able to visit YouTube. This is possible with Google Family Link, for example. Your child will then receive a child’s account, within which you can set all kinds of restrictions. Striking: Google itself also thinks that YouTube is not suitable for children. For example, a 9-year-old only has access to YouTube Kids. But it is not available to other countries.