YouTube Kids – Good or Bad?

5 min read by Bogdi

published 10 luni în urmă, updated 5 luni în urmă

With the plethora of streaming services available, it can be hard to decipher which platforms and websites are kid-friendly.  YouTube Kids is one of the most recognized platforms, with video views in the billions, but you might be wondering if the platform itself is good or bad?

YouTube Kids promotes a safe environment for children to watch videos by using automated filters and parental controls to help guide the viewing parameters. Tools within the system can help customize the app experience from blocking suspicious videos to limiting the amount of screen time per session.

As streaming platforms evolve, it is important to teach your children great habits for internet safety to help when you are not around. Keep reading below for tips on how to navigate and set up YouTube Kids and for some things you need to be on the lookout for.

Is YouTube Kids Safe?

YouTube Kids was created to give kids the ability to explore content on their own without running into unwanted ads or undesirable videos. However, as with most video streaming websites, there is always a chance that a rogue video can slip through. If you happen to catch a video or an ad come through that is not kid-friendly, you can quickly tag it so that the engineers can review and eliminate the video.

For content creation, several safeguards in effect will filter out and narrow down the videos if they are not deemed kid-friendly. This YouTube Kids Field Guide gives you a first-hand look at the rules for creating content for YouTube Kids.

From do’s to don’ts the guide hones in on how to effectively communicate to a younger audience by breaking down the following categories:

  • Understanding Your Audience
  • Engaging Your Audience
  • Enriching Your Audience
  • Impressing Your Audience

The YouTube Kids creators are tasked with creating content to help enrich your children's lives and to stay away from hurtful or negative content. There are several worksheets in the guide that content creators can use to help guide their videos to stay within the parameters set by YouTube Kids to have quality content.

Automated Filters and Parental Controls

In order for a video to be deemed as appropriate for YouTube Kids, it has to be scanned by the automated filters in addition to human review and feedback. The filters are taking several things into consideration, especially looking at what is popular on YouTube.

The automated scan is looking at the following items:

  • Video Content
  • Title
  • Thumbnails

If the review returns a thumbnail that has undesirable images or a title that has profanity, it will not be allowed into YouTube Kids. Additionally, any content related to that video or ad will be added to a list to have an extra review.

The engineering team is constantly updating the automated filters to stay in line with new and popular content that is created on YouTube, to prevent any overflow of inappropriate videos. However, if you do notice an inappropriate video on the app, you can flag the video to notify the team that a review is needed, and within 24 hours, it can be blocked if deemed necessary.

Parental Controls on YouTube Kids

The parental controls on YouTube Kids are one of the most comprehensive tools you can use in aiding what your children can view.  You can create up to eight profiles and customize the settings for each individual child.

Here are some of the ways you can filter what your child can watch:

  • Approved content only: Only content that you select can be viewed by your children. Kids will not be able to search for their own videos if this mode is selected.
  • Approved collections from trusted partners: While on “approved content” mode, you can add collections of videos and channels that have been deemed as trusted partners. The collections are grouped by topics such as science and music.
  • Content based on age: There are three modes that are available if you are choosing to filter content based on age.
  • Preschool (Ages 4 and Under) – videos are chosen that promote learning, creativity, and playfulness.
  • Younger (Ages 5-8) – videos can be explored for a wider range of topics such as music, crafts, and cartoons.
  • Older (Ages 9 and up) – popular music and gaming videos can be searched and explored.
  • Limiting screen time: You can set a time that will close the app whenever their screen time has been satisfied. Once the time is up, the app will be locked and only a password can reset the timer.
  • Blocking videos or channels: You have the ability to block an entire channel if you do not like the content that is being created. Even though it might fit the criteria for YouTube Kids, it might not align with your beliefs, so you are able to block it from your child’s viewing parameters.
  • No paid ads: Similar to regular YouTube, you can pay for a YouTube Premium subscription which will filter out any paid ads that might have rogue content.

The parental controls are completely customizable and should be utilized when setting up your child’s profile on YouTube Kids. You can keep the settings safe by using an unbreakable password, for example using the NordPass Password Manager to help create and store your passwords.

You can also use a VPN, such as NordVPN, to add an extra layer of security to help keep unwanted content out. A VPN hides and encrypts your IP address to protect your identity and help you browse safely.

Tips to Help You Monitor Your Child’s Video Streams

As a parent, you are likely busy and cannot constantly monitor what your child is watching on YouTube Kids.  That is why the platform was created, to have a safe space for your child to explore on their own.  However, you still need to take some time to monitor the videos they are choosing to watch.

Here are some tips to help you keep your child safe while using streaming platforms:

  • Only allow YouTube Kids in a common space
  • Make time to watch together
  • Discuss what they should do if there is bad content
  • If necessary, block the app from their devices so they can’t watch if you are not around

Teach Your Child Healthy Communication

It is up to you to teach healthy behaviors and habits to your children so that they understand when something is not right.  Keep the dialogue open and ask questions to probe what they are watching on a daily basis.

Some questions you can ask your child to teach them healthy communication are:

  • Have you seen anything on YouTube Kids that makes you feel uncomfortable or worried?
  • Is there a video that asks you not to tell an adult about something?
  • What kinds of videos do you think should be adults only?

If you are noticing that your child is apprehensive about specific questions regarding YouTube Kids, it might be time to block the app and move towards another streaming alternative such as PBS Kids.

Conclusion

YouTube Kids has amazing filters in place to help narrow down the content to protect your child from viewing unsuitable ads and videos, but it is ultimately up to you to set up additional parental controls and monitor what your child is exposed to. If you keep the communication open with your child, you should be able to mitigate any unsafe videos from streaming into their playlist.

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