Our Complete Guide to YouTube 

What are the key features of YouTube?

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Easy Access

Kids can access YouTube through mobile devices, Kindles, Smart TVs, gaming consoles, and even the Echo Show. If parents don’t want their kids to watch YouTube, they need to know how to block access on each of these devices.

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Endless Content 

There are over 5 billion videos on YouTube, so the education and entertainment factor is endless. Several features such as AutoPlay and  Recommended Videos were designed to keep users hooked. Users can subscribe to Channels, create Customized Playlists, and save videos to Watch Later.

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YouTubers

Kids today are drawn to YouTube stars who often have followers in the millions. The most famous YouTubers have achieved major commercial success, earning millions of dollars and inspiring many wannabes. YouTube stars are admired more than Hollywood celebs because they’re more relatable.

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Democracy of Uploads

Anyone can upload a video — whether it’s any good is a whole other matter.

What Parents Should Know

Inappropriate Content

Google has hired 10,000 human moderators to review content, but that’s only one moderator for every 500,000 videos. Thus, there’s still an abundance of inappropriate content on YouTube, and you cannot rely on YouTube’s algorithms to catch everything. While Google’s company policy explicitly states that YouTube is for users “more than 18 years” of age, it is a tough call for parents because it can be a great learning tool.

Parental Controls

YouTube’s parental controls are very limited, and the default setting has Restricted mode turned off. A parent can enable the Restricted mode, but it will only be effective if a child is watching YouTube logged in under his or her account.  Of further concern, is that there is no way to lock the Restricted mode setting, so a child can easily turn it off. Third party apps such as Mobicip offer parents more control over YouTube.   

It was Designed to be Addictive

Several features such as AutoPlay, Recommend for You, and Channel Subscription Notifications add to the addictive nature of YouTube. Some of these settings can be altered while some others cannot.

It’s Web-based and an App

It’s easy to forget that YouTube is both a web-browser and an app. So if your teen is doing homework on the computer, or you don’t want your child to access YouTube from her cell phone, you can block access through Apple’s Safari Restrictions. 

Ads

YouTube is cluttered with ads, so if you’re concerned about their potential influence, you can subscribe to the YouTube Premium. ($18 for Family Plan)

Recommendations

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Recommended Time

32 Minutes

In an extensive study, YouTube users report being happy when spending up to 32 minutes per day on the app, and then shift into unhappy territory when they continue using beyond that point.

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Recommended Age

18+

While Google’s company policy explicitly states that YouTube is for users “more than 18 years of age”, it is a tough call for parents because it can be a great learning too. The best compromise is active supervision.

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How do I set up Parental Controls on YouTube?

If your child uses Youtube, then we recommend using the browser version, not the app. Because Apple rates YouTube as a 17+ app, a parent would have to override all app-level restrictions. This would mean that a 13-year-old child would be able to access any app on the App Store, even those with mature content.

Restricted mode attempts to filter out inappropriate content.

It’s intended to prevent your child from viewing material that has been flagged as inappropriate by the YouTube community or a moderator and has been marked for mature audiences only.

To enable YouTube Restricted mode on the computer:

  1. Go to YouTube.com and log-in with your Gmail account credentials
  2. Click the Account icon in the upper right corner of the YouTube homepage
  3. Select Restricted mode and make sure it is toggled ON
  4. The page you were on will reload and YouTube will be restricted from delivering inappropriate content
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To enable YouTube Restricted mode on the website from the phone:

  1. Go to YouTube and log-in with your Gmail account credentials
  2. Click the Account icon in the upper right corner of the YouTube homepage
  3. Select Settings and tap Restricted mode and make sure it is toggled ON
  4. The page you were on will reload and YouTube will be restricted from delivering inappropriate content
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To enable YouTube Restricted mode on the mobile app:

Go to your Profile Picture

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Toggle the Restricted mode on
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How can I make YouTube less addictive?

YouTube’s AutoPlay feature was designed to keep viewers watching.  When the next video starts playing automatically, it can be hard to stop watching.

1. Turn off AutoPlay 

To turn off AutoPlay on the computer:

  1. Open YouTube and find any video to play
  2. Above and to the right of the list of suggested videos to play next, labeled as Up next, find the AutoPlay toggle switch
  3. Make sure the AutoPlay toggle switch is toggled to the left, as shown below to turn it off
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To turn off AutoPlay on the website from the phone:

  1. Open YouTube and find any video to play
  2. Scroll down and to the right of the list of suggested videos to play next, labeled as Up next, find the AutoPlay toggle switch
  3. Make sure the AutoPlay toggle switch is toggled to the left, as shown below to turn it off
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To turn off AutoPlay on the mobile app:

  1. Open YouTube and find any video to play.
  2. Above and to the right of the list of suggested videos to play next, labeled as Up next, find the AutoPlay toggle switch
  3. Toggle AutoPlay off
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2.  Discourage your child from subscribing to Channels

Once subscribed to a Channel, there are endless notifications to entice users to check out new videos. Instead, have your child create a playlist so they can easily access their favorite content.

Note: We discourage turning off Recommended Videos because it deletes all your previous Search History and Watch History, so you won’t be able to see what your child has viewed. Furthermore, YouTube will fill the blank space with their own recommendations which you probably don’t want.

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How can I monitor what my teen is watching on YouTube?

Parents can monitor what their Teens are watching by going to the device that their child is viewing from, provided Search History and Watch History is active. If parents want to view activity from the convenience of their own device, then they will need to subscribe to Mobicip.

To see Search or Watch History on the computer:

  1. From the Home page, go to History
  2. Select either Watch History or Search History  
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To see Search or Watch History on the website from the phone:

  1. From the Home page, click on the Account icon to the top right of the page
  2. Click on Settings
  3. Tap History and you can see Search History or Watch History here
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To see Search or Watch History on the mobile app:

  1. Go to the Library tab at the bottom right of the screen
  2. Tap History
  3. Type what you’re looking for in the box at the top of the page labelled Search Watch History
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How can I control what my child watches on YouTube?

It’s not possible on YouTube — you way want to consider YouTube Kids where you have more control. YouTube Kids lets parents create a list of approved content and ensures that kids can only access that content. 

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