Are you concerned about what your kids are watching on YouTube? Here are some simple steps you can take to monitor activity and content.
First, be sure to use parental control software on your computer. This gives you the ability to limit access to questionable content and even restrict when your kids are allowed online. For more details see my Tech Tips post on Internet Safety For Parents and Kids.
Don’t let your kids surf from your work computer or home account. Set up accounts on your home computer just for them. Keep the computer in a public place like the living room to make it easier to monitor activity. Restrict YouTube access to your computer rather than using the app on phones and tablets.
It’s a good idea to use separate browsers for banking, social media, and general surfing (which is how I would classify YouTube). This minimizes ad tracking and prevents accidental logins. For example, on a Mac you might use Safari for banking, Firefox for social media, and Chrome for general surfing.
If you log in, you can use the built-in YouTube controls to restrict what your kids are watching. You can block content or limit it to approved content only. You can also turn off search and review history. Use this in conjunction with your regular parental control software for better control over content. Bear in mind, you don’t have to log into Google to use YouTube. And you might not want to, because if you’re not logged in, your kids won’t be able to comment on videos.
Be aware that fake children’s videos of popular cartoon characters have emerged containing graphic and disturbing content. Only watch the trusted, official channels for such characters, those that have the verified checkmark. If your children are younger, YouTube Kids is more likely to be appropriate, especially if you use parental controls.
Watch what your kids watch. Ask them to talk to you about their favorite shows and stars. Encourage them to come to you if they see anything that they find uncomfortable or disturbing. Remind them never to post pictures of themselves online, or reveal their real names, addresses, phone numbers, school names, or other identifiable information.
Teach your kids about sponsored content, and how to recognize ads. Remind them that many influencers are paid to promote products. In fact, companies are making millions by marketing to kids online.
Do you have questions about protecting your kids on YouTube? Ask in the comments, and be sure to sign up for Tech Tips by email for the latest computer news and advice.