Safe Surfing for Children
Most kids these days are glued to their gadgets and spend most of their time chatting with their friends, playing games and, of course, surfing videos on YouTube. YouTube has a huge amount of informative, exciting and entertaining content that can keep your kid happily engaged for hours on end. The problem is that this content is often mixed with violent, disturbing, profane, and sexually explicit content that isn’t suitable even for adults, let alone impressionable kids.
YouTube tries its best to weed out this objectionable material, but it’s only marginally successful in its efforts. The rate at which new content is uploaded is higher than the rate at which it’s taken down.
Another problem is that, despite the age limit to upload videos (13), smaller kids still find ways to upload their videos on YouTube. They then get exposed to insensitive, degrading and suggestive comments that may shatter their self-esteem. They may also attract cyber bullies and sexual predators.
You can’t really demand that your kid never use YouTube again, ever. That will make you a tyrant, and you’ll have a very unhappy child on your hands. Instead, it’s better that you monitor your kid’s surfing habits and attempt to make it safer for him or her. To help you with that effort, here are ways you can make YouTube safer for your kids.
Use a Common Account
One of the best ways to monitor your child’s activity on YouTube is to share an account with them. That way, you can take a look at the video history and try to catch something that seems inappropriate. You will also be able to control how much information your child shares with the world and handle requests or comments that come their way yourself. If you find something that you don’t like, talk to your child about it.
Using a common account may not work in some cases. Older children may refuse to share an account with you and may resent you for being too controlling. You could try to reason with them. If that doesn’t work, asking them to use a computer from a common area where you can keep an eye on them may be your best option.
YouTube’s Safe Mode
YouTube has a safety filter that blocks most of the inappropriate content on the channel. The filter is not foolproof though – some inappropriate content can and does get through ever so often. It just reduces the quantity from a veritable flood to a trickle. This safety measure, combined with the other safety measures here, should go a long way towards making YouTube safe for your kid.
To turn on YouTube’s safety mode, sign into your (or your child’s) YouTube account and scroll all the way to the bottom of the home page. In the drop down menu, turn Safety Mode to on.
One sure way to keep children away from inappropriate content is to subscribe to their favorite channels. When you encourage subscription, their time hunting for content is significantly reduced. Subscribers are notified when new content is available from the channel.
It’s also easier to have all their content on the home page under “My Subscriptions”. Having easy access to channels they like and your approving is sure to keep them from iffy stuff.
Internet filters, like the Norton Family software, will help you monitor your kid’s online activity – on YouTube as well as on social media websites and the internet as a whole. With Norton, you will be given a list of the videos your kid has watched recently and a chance to preview them.
If you find something inappropriate, you can talk to your child about it. Some other good monitoring software choices are K9 Web protection, McAfee Internet Safety and OpenDNS Family Shield. You can also make your browser family friendly.
One shortcoming of monitoring software is that older children will probably find a way around them if they’re determined enough.
Playlists and Subscriptions
Another way to keep your child happy and you worry free is to use YouTube’s playlist and subscription feature to your advantage. You can spend a little time gathering what you think is age-appropriate content for your child and add it to a playlist that you can show to your child. You can also help your kid prepare a playlist if he or she insists.
You could use your kid’s account and subscribe to a variety of family friendly channels, like Disney or a cartoon channel. The next time your kid logs on; they will be greeted with a slew of entertaining-but-harmless videos on the home screen, which may occupy his or her attention.
Also See: 8 YouTube URL Tricks You Need to Master
Your child probably has uploaded videos on YouTube already. If not, he or she will want to, and soon. You can’t prevent them from doing that – it’s something that all their peers do, after all. However, this does not mean you should let them upload whatever they want. Comments and reactions to uploaded videos, when hurtful, can scar your child. The content they share will also impact their personality and society’s perception about them for years to come. You should protect them as much as possible by taking a few precautions.
Keep an eye on what your kid uploads and take down inappropriate (kids have funny ideas about what is appropriate) content immediately. Also, encourage them to share videos only with their circle of acquaintances (private sharing) and family members. You should also turn off comments entirely (Advanced settings while uploading), so you don’t have to worry about bad comments affecting your child.
If your child is very young, you can direct them towards sprogtube.com. SprogTube is a website that collects only child-friendly videos found on YouTube, so it’s perfect for easily entertained preschoolers.
If your child is older, though, you will just have to take some of ours suggestions and attempt to help them surf safe. The goal is not to be overbearing, but to monitor their activities and actively communicate with them about what they should and shouldn’t watch.