Is YouTube safe for my kids?

YouTube is the go-to video streaming service for people of all ages, and with such attention-grabbing content for kids, it’s no surprise that kids are on YouTube all the time. Owned and regulated by Google, YouTube is the hub for content creators and consumers. YouTube Kids is an iteration of the original platform that comes with hardcoded limitations that allow parents to have more control over what their child can watch.

YouTube vs. YouTube Kids

YouTube Kids is a watered-down version of YouTube that lists kids-friendly content in a colorful, user-friendly interface that also has fine controls for parents. The only concern with YouTube Kids has been the advertising content and the sponsored ads that make their way to the screen while your kids watch their favorite video. As the content of the Ads cannot be controlled on YouTube, it can be concluded that YouTube itself is not safe for kids without parental guidance, but is YouTube Kids the same? Let’s give YouTube Kids a detailed look to understand if it is safe for your kids.

Granted, YouTube Kids is a fun app that is built with kids in mind. Kids between the ages of 3 and 12 are the primary target audience for the platform that is accessible both through an app and a website. The platform allows you to create individual profiles for your children so you can tailor the content according to their respective ages. Moreover, you can set a limit on the time they spend online.

As for the content, there are full episodes of great TV shows for kids, classical rhymes, and jingles that will make your kids’ playtime fun. Besides, you can also find content from toy manufacturers and users. As for the educational videos, there are child-friendly videos from Khan Academy among many other educational channels, but the overall amount of educational content is limited when compared to entertainment ones.

Is YouTube Kids safe?

There are credible researches available that point towards a 27% probability of children coming across unwarranted content when watching their preferred videos. This is a significant number, and it shows that the YouTube algorithm that filters out adult content is not perfect. The content that has not been vetted for use by kids makes it somewhat unsafe as it can promote violence and other unwanted behaviors.

To offer a more consistent and dependable experience, YouTube is now leaning towards human intervention and is trusting humans to filter out content for children. Although you cannot just block out the ads without a premium subscription, the content of the ads is being improved to be safe for consumption by kids. However, the way ads sometimes cover educational content, or important aspects of the video is still a trouble.

To ensure that your kids get a safe experience on the platform, you need to set up parental restrictions on the platform. You need to sign in to your Google account and create a master key or passcode. You can set up as many as eight profiles for the kids, and each profile can then be configured to set individual time limits and a personal passcode so kids can’t access their sibling’s profile.

Also, you can set content filters and set the app to show age-based content for your kids. You also get the option to “Approve content” so your kids cannot search for questionable content themselves.

Final Verdict

Although YouTube is not exactly safe for your kids, efforts from the company to provide a good experience to parents and children trying to access video content is commendable. The YouTube Kids platform is improving every day, and with the fine controls and security options, it can be considered to be safe if all the right options are selected. That said, it is advisable to spend time vetting what your kids watch and watching it with them to promote positivity and an inclusive learning experience.

References

Inspiration from https://amp.commonsense.org/blog/c7e291f9-cf56-45b7-93d2-47c171c4f0c5