Understanding Parental Controls for YouTube
With billions of users, YouTube contains a huge amount of content, but not all of it is suitable for children. As the second most popular website of 2022, YouTube offers ways to protect and secure children’s safety when browsing the site or app. However, inappropriate content can still get through and reach children. This is why parental controls are crucial to restrict children’s access to some YouTube content.
In this article, you’ll find out many ways to set up parental controls on YouTube.
When enabled, YouTube’s “Restricted Mode” setting filters mature and inappropriate content. The restricted mode will work only on the device or browser on which it’s enabled. There are two ways to use this type of parental control. If a parent and a child share an account on YouTube, restricting content on their device won’t impact the content a parent watches. Or if the child has their own account, a parent can restrict YouTube content on every device their kid possesses.
You can turn on the Restricted Mode for your children on a mobile device or PC. Here is how you turn it on using a mobile device:
- Open YouTube.
- Click on the profile picture located in the top right corner.
- Click on “Settings.”
- Click on “General.”
- Turn the “Restricted Mode” on.
The turned-on setting will only apply to that mobile device, and the filter isn’t 100% accurate. Follow these steps to turn on Restricted Mode on the PC:
- In Google search, enter “youtube.com.”
- Click on the profile picture in the top right.
- Scroll down and click on “Restricted Mode: Off.”
- Turn it on.
A good thing about this option is that the Restricted Mode lock won’t let someone else change the setting on the browser. Note that the Restricted Mode isn’t the same as specifying age-restricted content. Only content creators on YouTube can select this option when uploading their videos. Age-restricted content is only suitable for users over the age of 18.
To begin setting up a supervised account, a parent must create a Google account for their child, since children under the age of 13 can’t manage their own accounts. A parent also needs to connect the account to the newly made account of the child. This is how you can do it:
- Click on “Yes, continue.”
- Log in with your Google account.
- Set up parental controls for Android apps. (Chrome, YouTube, Google Play, etc.)
If you choose “Supervised Accounts” as your parental control, you can choose from three levels of content settings.
Explore allows children to watch content appropriate for kids who are over 9 years old.
This setting allows content for kids over 13 years old.
Most of YouTube
This setting allows children to watch most YouTube videos, except ones marked 18+. When using supervised accounts, content evaluated as inappropriate is also restricted.
This type of parental control will also have an impact on ads on YouTube. The app won’t show ads related to the profile info of the user but based on the content the user – in this case, the child – is watching. Supervised accounts also restrict different features on YouTube such as live streams, comments, in-app purchases, creating a channel, uploading videos, community posts, etc.
YouTube Kids app is a really good choice when it comes to protecting children from harmful content. This app provides kid-friendly content which is both fun and educational. YouTube Kids is a separate app from YouTube, and it needs to be downloaded.
As with any supervised account, a parent will also need to create an account for their child, connect it to their own and adjust the settings. A YouTube Kids account also offers three different levels of content.
As the name suggests, this educational content is meant for kids in preschool, i.e., kids under the age of 4.
This content is adjusted to the age of the kids in this setting, which is between ages 5 and 8.
Customized content for children between ages 9 and 12.
This is the last protection on the YouTube Kids app, which gives your children access only to personally approved content. This is how you set it up:
- Open YouTube Kids.
- Click on the lock icon located at the bottom of the screen.
- Complete the instructions or enter the passcode if you have one.
- Go to “Settings.”
- Select the profile of your child.
- Click on “Edit settings” located in the “Content Settings” option.
- Choose “Approved Content Only.”
- Click on “Add or Remove Videos.”
- There you can add all approved videos, channels, or collections before pressing the “Done” button.
Safe Search is a Google option that many people use to filter explicit and inappropriate search results. To make YouTube and Google safe for your child, this setting needs to be turned on. You can turn it on via a browser or a mobile device.
For your web browser this is what you do:
- Go to families.google.com.
- Choose your kid’s profile.
- Tap on “Filters on Google Search.”
- Turn the “Safe Search” option on.
Follow these steps to turn on the “Safe Search” option on a mobile device:
- Open the Family Link app.
- Click on “View” beside your kid’s name.
- Click on “Choose settings.”
- Then click on “Google search.”
- Turn on the “Safe Search” option.
Another option to keep your child’s YouTube feed clear of harmful content is to remove or dismiss it. This way you can dictate what specific content they are allowed to see. You should update their feed every few months to prevent inappropriate videos from popping up.
To dismiss content, do this:
- Open YouTube or YouTube Kids.
- Scroll to see recommended videos.
- To dismiss a video, click on the three dots, or the “More” option next to the video.
- Click on “Not interested” to remove that video from being recommended again.
- For excluding channels, click on the option “Block.”
Blocking and Sharing Content
YouTube lets you customize your child’s content to your preferences which is a good way to avoid harmful videos. You can do this by blocking and sharing content with your child. Using your parent account, you can block content you think is inappropriate, or even an entire channel. That content won’t be shown on either YouTube or YouTube Kids. You can also use your child’s account on YouTube Kids and block the content there. When blocking a channel, all videos uploaded on that same channel will be blocked. Note that similar content on different channels will still be visible.
Sharing content is also a useful tool. You can share something you think is educational, via your parent account, and your child will be able to watch it, even though that same content wouldn’t show on their YouTube Kids account due to filters.
Family Link App
Family Link is Google’s parental control service which allows parents to set screen times, approve or disprove apps, restrict content, and more. This service also helps in protecting your child’s security. A parent can view and give permissions to websites as well as downloaded apps. Securing the account of the child is also available through Family Link. You can even delete the account if you feel your privacy has been violated.
One of the best features of this service is being able to locate your child (as long as they have their device with them). If the child leaves a certain location, the parent gets notified and alerted.
Communication Is Important
Restricting content on apps like YouTube is crucial when it comes to protecting children. Seeing harmful videos on YouTube can negatively impact kids, which is why it’s important to communicate with them about what they see and any negative experiences they may have had while on apps like YouTube.
Have you tried using parental controls on YouTube? Which one works best for you? Let us know in the comments section below.