Mar 30, 2015
My son loves his computer and xbox games, I have restrictions on the xbox with a code to prevent him from downloading or viewing stuff that will harm his 6 year old brain.
But, on the PC with YouTube it is a bit of a struggle, to say the least.
He was playing Angry Birds Star Wars, and in one or more clicks, managed to access YouTube, watch a video of Angry Birds, and from there stumble upon a video that has nothing to do with Angry Birds, but a lot of swearing and violence.
And at 6 years old, this influence became very clear when he played outside and practiced his new founded words, while attacking everything in sight...
While YouTube may be screened for extremely explicit content, it's still something of a wild frontier, containing a huge volume of garbage that kids shouldn't have access to.
Please note that there are no absolute guarantees that any safegurads will completely keep rubbish away from your kids, but at least there are things you can do to help.
The first thing is turning on YouTube Safety.
Enable YouTube Safety Mode in Your Web Browser
Safety Mode is YouTube's current parental control offering. Safety Mode attempts to filter YouTube search results so that the bad stuff is hopefully weeded out.
It also prevents your child from viewing material that has been flagged as inappropriate by the YouTube community or has been marked for mature audiences only by the content's creator. Safety Mode is mainly meant to limit content of an explicit nature. YouTube makes no guarantees that it will be 100% effective at screening out the bad stuff, but at least it's a start.
To Enable YouTube Safety Mode:
- Click the "On" button. If you receive a message after clicking the on button that says "You can lock the Safety Mode setting after you sign in" then you are not logged into Google / YouTube. Click the "sign in" link if needed.
- Check the box that says "Lock safety mode on this browser".
- Click the "Save" button.
After you've clicked the save button, the page you were on will reload and you will see a banner near the top of the page that shows a check mark with the words "Successfully enabled Safety Mode" next to it.
- IMPORTANT! In order to prevent your child from just turning safety mode off, you must log out of your Google / YouTube account by clicking your username link in the top right-hand corner of the browser window. This will effectively lock the setting in for the browser you are using, preventing your child from disabling Safety Mode. You will need to repeat this process for all other web browsers that are on your computer (i.e. Firefox, Safari, etc).
Enable YouTube Safety Mode on Your Mobile Device
Safety Mode may also be available on your mobile device's YouTube app. Check the settings area of the mobile app to see if it is an option. The process for locking the feature should be similar to the process above
Will YouTube Safety Mode keep your kids safe from all of the junk that's on YouTube? Probably not, but it is better than doing nothing at all, and it has been my experience that it did manage to weed out some content that would have not been safe for my kids to view.
You can find out more about YouTube's Safety Mode from the YouTube Safety Mode Support Page.
One caveat to mention, and this is not necessarily a bad thing, is that if you enable safety mode on YouTube, you also automatically enable safe search on Google. The reverse is also true, so please be aware that disabling Safety mode will disable SafeSearch.
Of course, there are also Parental Control in Windows, which allows certain times and accounts acces to websites etc.
But for YouTube itself, which is an awesome tool, these are the basics. In a future blog post, I will discuss the Parental Controls in Windows.