Is YouTube a safe place for the little ones? If, until a few years ago, certain questions were asked about television, nowadays this platform has almost completely replaced the classic TV programs. Although it would take 13 years to have an account on YouTube, many younger children regularly surf on this platform … but what are the risks that go against it?
Although we often give little weight, making YouTube safe for children should be a priority for parents who allow access to their children. While the streams offered include cartoons, documentaries or other highly educational content, some videos may not be suitable for children.
Safe YouTube for children? Parents should intervene with some tricks …
Pretty pushed movies and language not suitable for children are some of the most recurring risks. Although the platform itself works to limit the content of this kind, it must also be said that this is generally directed towards an adult audience.
However, YouTube has always lined up on the front lines to defend children from unsuitable content by creating YouTube Kids, an app that sets filters to eliminate movies aimed at an adult audience. In this sense, however, even parents can do something by better managing their accounts on the service.
If you have young children (under the age of twelve), you may be able to achieve your goal of protecting your children from this content by setting up a family YouTube account. You can do this by creating a new Gmail account and setting up the associated YouTube channel.
An account of this kind allows you to create playlists of approved videos and subscribe to channels suitable for an extremely young audience. In addition, if your children watch videos via this account, you will see history on the left side of the page (so you can keep an eye on what they have visited). To keep this account as secure as possible, there are also other settings that can be useful as:
- Disable the Search option and pause the display history. These actions prevent YouTube from collecting information from videos watched by your child and then reproduce them again.
- Activate security mode or restricted mode. If your family accesses YouTube on multiple browsers, you must do so with all the apps of this kind used.
- Lock security mode by protecting it with your login credentials.
- Help YouTube by reporting inappropriate videos. Giving a hand to the platform in this sense can be a good way to help “clean” it from inappropriate content. Also, when you are reporting a video, it will automatically be blocked by your channel.
- Turn off automatic playback. The next video in the list may be inappropriate. It’s better to prevent YouTube from automatically starting videos.
The family account is definitely limiting: having to filter content, your child will not have much available (unless you spend hours and hours every day on YouTube!). When it starts to complain about the lack of videos in the playlist or when it will be big enough to demand some freedom, it will be time to give it access with a personal account.
Despite this, it must be said that it is still possible to follow its path and check that it does not display videos unsuitable for age. Using a network service like OpenDNS to add an additional layer of filtering and content security can be a good choice. The alternatives are some software that acts as web filters like Norton Family Premier or McAfee’s Safe Security. These programs alert you when your child watches inappropriate videos and allows you to block objectionable content (not just on YouTube).
Upload files to YouTube
Even uploads, if performed by inexperienced or naive people, can be a source of problems. When you are not content to only use what is on the platform but want to participate actively, you need to be well aware of what you are doing.
A child who uploads video without knowing what he is doing can reveal sensitive data and endanger himself. If there is nothing wrong with uploading a movie and feeling like a YouTube participant, it should be said that even in this case it is necessary for the presence of a parent. The uploaded video can be kept private, comments can be deactivated and a large number of actions can be performed that affect the upload. The important thing is that, up to a certain age, these operations must be carried out under the supervision of an adult.
The responsibility is first of all parents
YouTube is a platform created for adults. The responsibility is therefore mainly of the parent or of those who put in the hands of the child a powerful but dangerous instrument like the network. To avoid problems it is, therefore, good to keep an eye on their behavior, check the history (and worry if this is deleted). Always take into account that, most likely, your child has a thorough knowledge of technology and learns a lot faster than you!
Not just YouTube
If you are a parent, you most likely already know that YouTube is one of the safest places on the net. Keeping your children safe on the web is a series of operations that go far beyond this simple platform. Social media, search engines, and adult sites are other very dangerous areas and, precisely for this reason, a modern parent must always keep his eyes open.