YouTube is the premier video sharing website in the world, and it is owned by Google. The sites’ users are both individuals and companies. YouTubers (people who use YouTube) can watch videos, upload videos, share videos, share gifs of videos, create channels and playlists, subscribe to channels, and comment on videos. There are built-in tools for doing quick edits to videos, and for adding music. Users can also live stream video, and share the saved video on YouTube. YouTube Red is a paid version of YouTube, only available in a few countries.
YouTube works on the web, and has dedicated apps for Google Play, iOS, smart TVs, game consoles, and media streaming devices. Users must be at least 13 years old to join YouTube. The Google Play app is rated Parental Guidance and the iOS app is rated 17+.
Why Kids Like YouTube
There are lots of videos on YouTube, a mix of content relevant to and interesting to audiences of all ages. It’s easy to search and find interesting content to satisfy our curiosity. The video platform is appealing to children and other users.
Dangers of YouTube
Some content on YouTube is age-rated and can only be accessed with age verification, but since the environment is controlled by users, including moderation, it is not inherently safe for use by children. Dangers to consider include:
- Public videos can be seen by anyone.
- Comments can be mean and foul.
- Private messages can be sent and received through named channels.
- A friend could upload a video of your child.
- There is a lot of inappropriate, and adult content on YouTube. Through innocuous search queries, students can encounter this content. Related videos, and what to watch next also provide opportunities for children to access inappropriate content.
- YouTube Contacts can be set up and used for private video sharing and chatting in the YouTube app. Group chatting is also available on Android.
Make YouTube Safer
To make YouTube safer, there are a number of settings possible. A better option is to install YouTube Kids. Even that option is not 100% safe, with many reports from parents that YouTube’s automatic filters are not catching some inappropriate content.
- Install YouTube Kids instead of YouTube.
- Disable comments on public videos, and channels.
- Enable restricted mode to screen out inappropriate content.
- Use filters and moderation to manage comments.
- Turn off channel recommendation.
- Turn on privacy settings for subscriptions, likes and saved playlists.
- Request removal of videos of your child. Work with your child, so that they may contact their friend with the request.
- Have your child show you any videos that they make before uploading them to YouTube.
- Use unlisted for uploaded videos.
- If your child wants a channel for uploads, and they have their own account, become a manager.
- Subscribe to your child’s channel if they have their own account.
- Report harassment and cyberbullying.
- Use YouTube with your child, and enjoy watching some of their favorite videos together (especially for younger children).
- Actively monitor how your child uses YouTube, and discuss it with them (for older children).
- To learn more about this topic, see reviews and instructions from Parent Info, Protect Your Eyes, Common Sense Media, and NSPCC NetAware, and YouTube’s Help.