How to Make YouTube a Little More Safe for your Kids

Published in: YouTube

Whether you are looking for cartoons, videos of nursery rhymes or animated movies to keep your kids entertained, YouTube has them all.

A simple search reveals that YouTube currently has more than 65,000 “Mickey Mouse” videos and over 56,000 “Tom and Jerry” cartoons. Some of these videos may have ripped from DVDs and uploaded to YouTube illegally but that’s a different story.

The big problem with YouTube, or any other video sharing site on the Internet, is that that all videos may not be appropriate for children. You child may be watching a perfectly “safe for kids” video on YouTube but she may still accidentally stumble upon videos that aren’t suitable for her.

Related: How Parents Can Block Websites at Home

How do you prevent this? Google has a security filter in YouTube that, when turned on, will automatically hide objectionable videos from the site. To activate the safety mode, open the YouTube website, scroll to the bottom of the screen and toggle the link that says “Safety mode is off.”

This would block adult videos on YouTube and also clips that may have graphical images of violence. The following video explains how to enable the Safety Mode in YouTube.

Safety mode in YouTube is a temporary setting and the website will restore to its default (off) state once you close the browser. If you want to make this no-adult-content lock permanent, sign-in to YouTube with your Google Account and choose “Save and Lock Safety mode” instead of “Save.”

The Safety Mode in YouTube is a great option but it isn’t fool proof yet. This is because YouTube relies on the  “crowd sourcing” model to determine  age-restricted content  - if the community doesn’t flag a video, the clip may bypass the Safety mode filter as well.

In my limited testing, YouTube did block videos for terms like “naked” and “sex” but the filtering simply failed in quite a few cases.

If you are still concerned, manually create a playlist on YouTube containing only videos that you want your kids to watch and then embed this playlist on another webpage (see example) - this will automatically hide all the other YouTube videos from your children. Alternatively, you can copy a YouTube playlist to your own YouTube account and modify the list for your kids.

YouTube doesn’t support Flash playlists inside the iPad but there are free apps that will help you kids watch the full playlist continuously.

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Published in: YouTube

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Meet the Author

Web Geek, Google Developer Expert
Amit Agarwal

Amit Agarwal is a Google Developer Expert in Google Workspace and Google Apps Script. He holds an engineering degree in Computer Science (I.I.T.) and is the first professional blogger in India. He is the developer of Mail Merge for Gmail and Document Studio. Read more on Lifehacker and YourStory

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