YouTube Safety Tips
We have all tried to be vigilant in monitoring what our kids do on the Internet. Even with my best intentions, my kids have often 'clicked too far' on YouTube. So what should a parent do to keep YouTube Safe? Keep reading for some technical and practical tips you can follow to keep YouTube entertaining and fun!
YouTube Safety Tip #1 – Turn on SafeSearch
I have previously written a post on how to turn on YouTube SafeSearch. See YouTube for Kids. The safe search will block all content that is identified as 'inappropriate, violent, lude.'
However, since I wrote that post, I have realized many shortcomings with this safesearch setting. This isn't a one-step solution. The Safesearch feature relies on YouTube users to be accurate in their descriptions and titles for their movies. As you can imagine with the millions of hours of YouTube available, the titles and descriptions and maturity ratings are not always accurate. Because of this, there are some more tips to follow.
YouTube Safety Tip#2 – Create Playlists and Mark Favorites
Kids usually have their favorite video. Whether it is PSY in 'Gangum Style' or 'My Little Pony,' my kids can watch the same video over and over. If you create a playlist you are letting your kids skip the step of searching for a video every time. You can even create a bookmark for a playlist so that they go straight there instead of the YouTube home site.
YouTube Safety Tip#3 – Report Inappropriate Content
Many parents get frustrated with content that is STILL available with the Safe Search turned on. If you feel that, the content is violent or sexual in nature you can click on the 'report' flag and send it to YouTube. They may or may not pull the video but at least you are requiring a YouTube employee to review the video. If you do this, you are helping the thousands of parents that may have seen the same video come up during a benign YouTube search.
YouTube Safety Tip #4 – Search and Watch YouTube
It is important for kids and teenagers to learn to explore on their own. Sit by them as they search for new videos on YouTube. Highlight the video results that may not be a good fit for them. Tell them how you came to that conclusion. Teach them to understand that YouTube is a great education tool, but they have to be careful of some of the content on YouTube.
YouTube Safety Tip #5 – Be Wary of YouTube Suggestions
My kids love watching YouTube. However, any time they happened upon inappropriate content it was because they clicked through two to three rounds of YouTube 'suggested videos.' The YouTube suggestions will lead your kids to unrelated videos from their original search which may include inappropriate videos. It is better to rephrase your search 'key words' or stay within the first few pages of the original search result.
Mobile YouTube Safety Tip
What about my iTouch, Kindle, and iPad? If you have the YouTube app installed on a mobile device turn on safe search as well. In addition, if the device is dedicated for kid use I would recommend installing a restrictive YouTube application player. Search for 'YouTube for Kids' and you will see many paid and free apps that provide a restricted YouTube video player. My favorite app is Video Monster. It allows you to dynamically add content to the device, cache or download certain videos and has a passlock to update the playlist. The other applications are great, but to me seem more like a walled garden which takes the fun out of the always new content on YouTube.
So follow these tips and your kids should be that much more safe on Youtube!!