In light of some recent news articles, I thought it was a good time to share some of the tips I have picked up other the years on how to help keep my children safe on youtube. We are pretty easy on our rules when it comes to screen time, we try to encourage them to enjoy other things that life has to offer but because we are pretty easy on the amount of time we have been vigilant when it comes to safety. We personally opt to use the regular youtube app as I find I can implement these guidelines and easier check that my children are holding up their end of the deal when it comes to following them. Youtube Kids can be a good option but it’s important to know that just because something says kids in the title doesn’t automatically make it safe. Here are the things I do to try and protect my children from the crazy things that go on online.
Only Allow Them To Watch Videos They Are Subscribed To
Youtube has a tab that allows you to access all the videos from channels that you are subscribed to. So with my children, I have gone through different channels that they are interested in and watched a bunch of that channel’s videos to see if their content is something that I think is appropriate. If I decide that it’s something that they are allowed to watch the channel gets subscribed to. The kids can then find all of that channel’s videos under the subscribed tab.
No Watching The “Up Next” Videos
The up next videos are common channels that they are not subscribed to and can even be content that has nothing to do with the video they just watched. Lot’s of times the up next videos are actually videos that also appear on the trending page, which are commonly not appropriate for my children.
Set The Restricted Mode On Every Single Device
I still find it crazy that YouTube doesn’t have a feature that just carries the restricted mode with the account rather than only on the device you are setting. Since it’s this way you need to be setting the restricted mode to “ON” on all of the devices your children have their youtube account on. This can be found when you go into the settings tab on the computer at the bottom of the page, under the gear icon on gaming consols, and with mobile, you click the picture of the user picture and then you will enter settings where you will see the restricted mode.
Keep An Open Line Of Communication
Hoping that you have a good relationship with your child you should be able to gently talk about the dangers that the internet can have, explain to them proper use and also why we don’t tell people certain things online. There are some great resources to help you talk to your children about internet safety at www.netsmartzkids.org! Making sure that your children feel comfortable to come and talk to you is so important, if they feel like they will get into trouble for coming across something bad then the likelihood of them telling you at all is very slim.
Encourage YouTube To Be Used In Central Locations Of The House
I know that sometimes the kids are watching things that you just don’t care about but if you allow them to be comfortable to watch their videos in places where you can walk by and check up on them without seeming like you just joined MI6, that would ideal! Kids want to feel like they have some control of their lives, so when you allow them to make choices on their own, while still checking in every once in a while you’re both happy!
Check The History Every So Often
I do a random check on the kids YouTube history all the time. This allows me to see if they are following the rules that we have laid out. To make sure they are only watching videos of the channels we have them subscribed to. It also allows me to check in and see if I’m still finding that particular creators content appropriate. Sometimes YouTube creators change direction or simply grow up and their content is no longer a good fit for our family.
PLEASE COMMENT: If you have any other tips on how to keep kids safe while they use YouTube I would love for you to share them in the comments below so that we can all help each other out!