Our Complete Guide to YouTube
What are the key features of YouTube?
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.
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.
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.
Democracy of Uploads
Anyone can upload a video — whether it’s any good is a whole other matter.
What Parents Should Know
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.