How to Enable Parental Controls on YouTube

YouTube has become a scary place for parents. A lot of what kids absorb from it can be educational and good for them. But if there’s no filtering of any kind, the child is likely to stumble upon something inappropriate.

How to Enable Parental Controls on YouTube

Not to mention all the time spent in front of the screen itself. It’s incredibly difficult for parents to manage everything and know exactly what to do. That’s why it’s important to enable parental controls on YouTube as the first line of defense.

Restricted Mode – Web Browser

Regardless of which age group your child belongs to, the first and quickest thing you can do to make YouTube safer is to enable Restricted Mode. This feature filters YouTube search results. The content goes through a more thorough weeding process to exclude any inappropriate videos.

Another thing that Restricted Mode does is filter out content that was flagged as inappropriate by the YouTube community. Or the content which was marked as “mature audiences only” by the content creators. You have to keep in mind, there’s so much content on YouTube. And even though the Restricted Mode is there to protect the kids from videos of explicit nature, it isn’t 100% effective.

How to Enable Parental Controls

Here’s how you enable the YouTube Restricted Mode in your web browser:

  1. Open YouTube and then select your picture (the right upper corner of the screen icon that represents your account).
  2. Scroll all the way to the bottom and click on “Restricted Mode: off”.
  3. You’ll see a window that explains that this setting will potentially hide mature videos. Select “Activate Restricted Mode”.
  4. Select “Lock Restricted Mode on this browser” so your child can’t roll back this setting.

Your home screen will reload, and the content will be filtered. An important thing to remember here is that this setting only applies to that browser. Each of the browsers in all of the devices has to have Restricted Mode activated separately.

Restricted Mode – Mobile Devices

Let’s face it, kids are more likely to watch YouTube on their tablets and smartphones. That’s why activating Restricted Mode on their mobile devices, or yours is very important. The purpose of the Restricted Mode is the same here as it is in the web browser. It helps with mature content, but it’s not bulletproof. Here’s how to enable Restricted Mode on the YouTube app on mobile devices:

  1. Launch the YouTube and go to your Account (top right corner of the screen).
  2. Go to Settings. And then Select “General”.
  3. Scroll down and you’ll find Restricted Mode. Use the slider to turn on the feature.

Consider the YouTube Kids App

It’s obvious that YouTube doesn’t have very elaborate parental controls. They offer the basic Restricted Mode, which might be enough if your children are older and you don’t need to monitor their behavior.

You can download the YouTube Kids app in Play Store and Apple Store. And then proceed to create a profile for your child. Parents are able to make a profile for each child in the household. That way the recommendations from YouTube will be better suited for each child.

How do you create a YouTube Kids profile? A parent has to be signed in for the profiles to become accessible. You can create up to eight profiles per one account, and this is how to create them:

  1. Launch the YouTube Kids app and sign in.
  2. Go through the YouTube Kids parental consent info and tap “Done” if you agree.
  3. Start setting up a profile for your child by providing a birth date. The app will use this to set up an age-appropriate experience for your child.
  4. Choose the content experience for your child
    1. Preschool (Ages 4 and under)
    2. Younger (Ages 5-7)
    3. Older (Ages 8-12)
    4. Approve content yourself
  5. You’ll be guided through the parent feature tour of the YouTube Kids app. There you’ll be able to find all the parental control settings and how to block videos and report them.
  6. Your child can now safely use the YouTube Kids app. You can always go back and change the settings if you need to.

Note: The “Approve content yourself” option means that you can customize what your child can watch. Which videos, channels, or collections. Sometimes there’s an overlap with age and content, and you have to intervene.


How to Report Inappropriate Videos

When it comes to YouTube, stumbling upon an age-inappropriate video isn’t difficult. If a video with mature content slips through the cracks of Restricted Mode, it doesn’t mean that reporting it will matter much. There were no guarantees in the first place.

But with the YouTube Kids app, the standards are different. All content is meant to be for children of various ages. Therefore, if you think that a video or a channel is inappropriate you should report it to YouTube and let them investigate. Here’s how you do so:

  1. Open the app and go to the Watch page of the video you want to report.
  2. Select “More” in the upper corner of the screen.
  3. Select “Report”.
  4. Choose the reason why you’re reporting the video (Inappropriate audio or visuals, or something else).

When you report that video, it will no longer appear in the YouTube Kids app for you. But just reporting it doesn’t mean that the video will definitely be removed.

Enable Parental Controls

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I completely block YouTube on a device?

If you simply don’t want your child accessing YouTube at all there are a few actions you can take. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to block YouTube on browsers and block the app.

If your child uses iOS or Android use Screen Time or Digital Wellbeing respectively. Apple’s Screen Time will let you turn off certain apps while also allowing you to block specific websites.

The same goes for Android’s Parental Controls. Simply link their Gmail account to yours and manage the content you want them to access from the settings of your phone.

Is there a way to keep my child from turning off restrictive mode?

Kids are smart these days and most can bypass any parental controls within a matter of minutes. If your child is using YouTube Kids you’re in luck because you can create a 4-digit pin number (or it’ll ask for the answer to a random math equation). If your child is using YouTube and you’re relying on Restrictive Mode to block content they can simply toggle the option off so it’s best to set some parental controls using their operating system’s native functions (i.e. Android or iOS).

Make YouTube a Safe Place

It doesn’t matter how much you trust your kids, the perils of the internet can’t be overstated. Their young minds aren’t prepared for everything they can be exposed to unless protected. YouTube can be particularly complicated in that department. It’s an understandably exciting place for kids to explore. But with some restrictions, a parent’s mind can be put at ease. And the YouTube Kids app is probably the safest way to go for younger kids.

What’s your take on the YouTube Kids app? Are you happy with just the Restricted Mode? Let us know in the comments section below.

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