YouTube has one billion users daily, many of these are children and young people. In the US it is more popular with teens than Facebook.
There are videos on YouTube that can be upsetting for children. While YouTube cannot be made entirely family-friendly, as a parent or grandparent there are steps you can take to help stop your children from seeing unsuitable content. For more information visit Internet Matters, a not-for-profit e-safety organisation supported by BT, which has a wealth of free online advice about all the issues kids might face.
1: Turn on Parental Controls
BT Parental Controls is a free network-based filter that covers all internet-enabled devices connected via your BT Hub in the home, including tablets, laptops and smartphones. It also works when you connect to a wi-fi hotspot using the BT Wi-Fi app.
It allows you to to set a Light, Medium and Strict filter or you can set up a custom filter and choose what to block including Media Streaming, Games and Search Engines. You can set timings for when those filters are on and set homework filters, so children can't go online and be distracted.
You can set a list of websites to block, which can include YouTube.
2. Use YouTube Kids
However, it should be noted that it relies on algorithms and it is not personally created by YouTube employees, so things can slip through.
Once the app is downloaded, open it and after a short video click Get Started and follow the instructions to enter a passcode.
You will then be recommended to either have Search on or Search off. Search off is better for younger kids as it restricts the chances of them finding something outside of their age bracket and means the app can be more curated by yourself.
When in the app you can either press the magnifying glass icon to search (if enabled), or discover the YouTube videos available through Shows, Music, Learning and Explore.
By clicking the lock icon in the bottom left hand corner you can set up a parental passcode control to access the Timer, Settings and Feedback section.
You can Set Time Limit, and when the time is up the app will lock.
In Settings, you can change the audio settings by turning the App Music or Sound Effects on or off.
It’s also possible to change the Home screen age level to All kids, pre-school or school age.
3. Restrict YouTube on YouTube app
Another good way to restrict content is to set up a family Gmail account for using on YouTube. Once you have signed in, click on your Google account symbol in the corner – in my case it’s an L for Laura – and click Settings. There you can turn on Restricted Mode (found under General on an Android phone)– this means that videos that have been flagged as having inappropriate content will not be shown.
4. Restrict content on YouTube website
Along the side, click Settings.
At the bottom of the page click to Restricted Mode: On. Then go to Lock Restricted Mode on this browser. Once you click Save, others will be prevented from changing the settings.
5. Subscribe to family friendly YouTube channels
There are plenty of kid-friendly YouTubers out there but some ones to start you off include the below. If you subscribe to the channels you feel are right for your family, then you can create a safe feed.
- Mother Goose Club – nursery rhymes for young children
- Geek Gurl Diaries – tech explainers for older kids
- National Geographic Kids
- Stampylonghead – clips on gaming