YouTube and Your Children: Making it Safer & More Fun

youtube and your children“I didn’t believe it until I saw it for myself. A friend had asked me about a video my child had posted on YouTube. I checked it out. And there we were for all the world to see! – She had posted it without my knowledge and revealed far more than she should have about our family.”

“All he wants to do is play video games or watch other people play videogames on YouTube. Who knows what kind of language that exposes him to. – I’m worried. He hardly talks to me any more.”

If you think parents only make these kinds of statements about their teenagers, guess again!

Even young kids often know more about technology than you might think, but they lack the level of judgment of a mature adult. Of course, there is a lot of information on YouTube that can be fun and educational, but prudent parents needs to make sure their children use this technology wisely and safely. – How?

Making YouTube Safer

Family Account – Setting up a family account when you have very young children is a must. Once your children get older, you might opt for getting them a personal account. In both cases, it’s a good idea to keep the password to yourself so that you can view the history and monitor what they’re doing.

Safety Mode and Other Options – Turning on the Safety Mode and locking it – which cannot be undone without the account password – will block most unwanted content. Turning off the auto play will prevent the next video from playing automatically. And, of course, you can also block an entire channel if you find its contents unsuitable for your child.

Supervising Apps and Sites – There are specially designed apps that include parental control for such things as search box removal, selecting an age range for contents they recommend, or setting time limits. You also might opt to avoid/block YouTube altogether via a web filter and instead direct your children to family friendly video sites, which oversee YouTube content and link only to appropriate videos.

Uploading – If you do allow your children to share videos, you must talk with them about what they should and shouldn’t upload to YouTube. Discuss the effects a video might have on their privacy and reputation, getting permission from those in the video, and making sure it does not contain private information. Choose to make the video “private” when you upload it (the default option is “public”!), which still allows you to share it with family and friends.

Making YouTube More Fun

Parental Involvement – Help your children discover the good and fun things about YouTube. Get involved with them early on and find out what they like and why. Watch YouTube with them and help them explore the things they can learn from and the resources they can have for educational projects that they would otherwise not have. Let making a video and uploading it be a joined venture.

Child-friendly Playlists – You can easily create playlists by clicking the “add” button at the bottom of a video. You can also subscribe to family-friendly channels, which then automatically add their videos to your playlists. Be sure to preview each video in full before you add it (there are some that start off well, but contain inappropriate content later on).

Offensive Comments – There is no need to spoil your children’s fun of uploading videos by letting them see disparaging or offensive comments. Simply select to turn off or block the comments when you upload the video. Once they are older, you might want to let them see the comments, so you can use that opportunity to teach them how to deal with difficult people.