Creative Child

6 YouTube Safeguards to Help Protect Your Child

by Deborah Song

Technology has become a double-edged sword for many parents. On the one hand, it’s one of the most convenient babysitters around. Yet, with Internet platforms unable to police and reign in disturbing content popping up on our children’s tablets, parents who know exactly how to navigate this relatively new frontier are few and far between. Even TV, ever prevalent in American households, seemed easy to manage by comparison.

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According to the latest research from Dubit Worldwide, three-and four-year-olds can select their own apps, and many children know how to make videos and take photos by the time they are five. The number of kids who can produce as well as consume content has risen dramatically. Enhancing tech IQ will be of dramatic importance for this generation of kids.

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But until your child is old enough to make judgment calls, there are certain safeguards worth putting in place.

  1. Install YouTube Kids. While not completely foolproof, YouTube Kids censors much of the inappropriate content for kids.
  2. Set up a family account. Setting up a shared Google account lets you keep an eye on the videos your kids watch and upload, as well as the information they share.
  3. Turn on safety mode. Turning on safety mode will return results or no results based on the user’s keywords. Other searches will return filtered results. In safety mode, all comments are hidden by default. You can still view comments but objectionable words will be replaced by asterisk.
  4. Be in the same room with your child. By being in the same room with your child when he watches, you’ll have better awareness about what he’s being exposed to. Even if the content isn’t violent or destructive doesn’t mean it’s conducive either. The use of headphones should also be discouraged for the same reasons. 
  5. Set a time limit on YouTube. It’s not always easy to measure how much you’re your child is spending watching YouTube. By setting up a time limit, you can take better control of how your child is spending large chunks of precious childhood.
  6. Warn them. Ignorance isn’t bliss in this situation. Make plainly aware to your child that there is “bad stuff” on YouTube. Even young kids understand that hitting is bad. Encourage them to talk to you about it if they do see something wrong.

Deborah Song is a Canadian-born, Los Angeles-based writer, who obtained her master's in journalism from New York University. She is the founder of worklifeparent.com, and is passionate about helping parents find better work-life balance and proper support through community.

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