Is YouTube Kids Really Safe for Children in 2021

YouTube Kids Parents Guide

 

Is YouTube Kids Really Safe for Children? How does it work and how can you configure parental filters and controls? Learn more about this YouTube app, dedicated to children.

So many children love watching videos on YouTube, which Google created a special app for younger fans of the online video service. And while YouTube Kids is a colorful, easy-to-use app, and has many high-quality videos, some parental controls, and fun features for children, there are also concerns about advertising, branded content, and inappropriate videos that hang in the selection process. So, is YouTube Kids safe or not?

YouTube Kids is a friendly app with flashy visual effects, fun sound effects, and image-based navigation that doesn’t resemble the original app. Children can watch a large menu of YouTube videos aimed at their age group sliding to the left and right, or they can see the channels in the categories at the top of the screen. Despite the drawbacks, YouTube Kids definitely has the potential to become an essential site for children to watch online videos, if you monitor and activate security settings.

youtube kids

If you want to see more information about YouTube and the content children see on this platform, read our 2020 study on how toys, advertising and games dominate YouTube. You can also read this guide so that you become a whole YouTube detective.

What is YouTube Kids?

What kinds of videos do you see on YouTube Kids?

Is YouTube Kids Safe?

Are there advertisements on YouTube Kids?

How do I configure parental controls and profiles on YouTube Kids?

How do I configure content filters on YouTube Kids?

What age is YouTube Kids?

Why does YouTube Kids have disturbing videos?

What is YouTube doing to increase the safety of children in the app?

What can I do if my son sees disturbing content?

What alternatives to YouTube Kids are there?

What is YouTube Kids?

 

YouTube Kids is a YouTube version aimed at children that features select videos of TV, music, education and content created by users, all sponsored with advertising. It is designed for preschool children up to 12 years old and is available as an app and website. You can create user profiles for each of your children so they can log in and watch videos appropriate to their age. One of the best features of YouTube Kids is the timer, which allows you to set a limit (up to an hour) for your kids to play on the app.

 

What kinds of videos do you see on YouTube Kids?

 

As is regularly updated, channels and videos change. The “Shows” section features short videos and episodes of popular children’s programs (like Peppa Pig and Thomas and his friends); the “Music” section features classic and contemporary children’s songs. The “Learning” section gives access to educational videos including content from Khan Academy, PBS Kids, and TED Ed, and the “Explore” section features a lot of user-created content, toy-related videos (including many unboxing videos), diverse child-friendly content, as well as channels created by brands like McDonald’s. According to a 2020 Common Sense Media study, most children use it more for entertainment than for educational content

 

Is YouTube Kids Safe?

 

In general, YouTube Kids is safe, but there is a small chance that children will see nudity, violence or just strange things, as well as advertising of things like junk food. Our study revealed that 27% of the videos seen by children 8 years old or younger were more suitable for older audiences, with violence being the most common negative type of content. YouTube Kids is technically a major service portal on YouTube and uses an algorithm that filters adult content and channels child content to the app. However, inappropriate videos can pass as appropriate for the algorithm. Since it was launched in 2015, Google has enhanced its efforts to curate content for children by adding monitoring people who check videos flagged as inappropriate on the main app and by offering “verified” (one-person-approved) videos. On the upside, YouTube offers a lot of warnings that children can see something they don’t want them to see and you can block and report inappropriate videos.

 

Are there advertisements on YouTube Kids?

 

There’s a lot of advertising on YouTube Kids, they appear in 95 percent of videos for young children, according to our research. Ad design can also be problematic, including advertising that blocks educational content, ads that can be confused with recommended videos, and video game advertising that show manipulated versions of known characters. If parents open a premium YouTube account there will be no advertisement and children can watch the videos without an internet connection, but children will still have access to videos of junk food brands and toys.

 

How do I configure parental controls and profiles on YouTube Kids?

 

To configure parental controls on YouTube Kids, sign in to your Google account. You can create a personal code that is a master key to enter the app settings, or you can use multiplication kizzes every time you want to enter. (This is supposed to prevent children from entering.) The app allows profiles of up to eight children, each with an avatar and their own settings, including screen time and a personal code for each child, so that they cannot enter the profile of others.

The first thing you have to decide is whether you want to allow your child to search for videos on the app or if you want to use age adjustments (4 or less, 5-7 and 8-12), by choosing this, the app only presents (usually) videos appropriate for their age range. Selecting “Approve content” or “Approve content” disables searches and the app only displays collections of videos that have been verified as appropriate for the age range.

 

All profile settings can be seen by clicking on the lock icon on any screen, you can update it as often as you like, and they will be applied immediately on the app and website.

 

How do I configure content filters on YouTube Kids?

 

YouTube Kids does not provide content filtering. To limit what children can see, you can use parental control so they can only see content that you have approved. The other option is to choose videos based on the age range you chose (children 4 years old or younger will see more early education content and for example, children 8-12 years old will see more video game content). If there’s something you don’t want your kids to see, you’ll have to block those videos when they appear. If there’s any video you know you don’t want them to watch, you’ll have to block them when they appear.

 

What age is YouTube Kids?

 

The app store says YouTube Kids is for children over four years of age, but Common Sense Media recommends it for children over seven years of age. In addition to ads, commercialism and the possibility of watching inappropriate videos, we think it’s better to expect children to be a bit more mature or to accompany younger children when they watch the videos. The default version of the app is targeted at preschool children and young children.

 

Why Do YouTube Kids Have Disturbing Videos?

 

You may have heard about some videos that seem to be for children, but clearly they are not. These videos can use familiar characters from children’s TV shows, such as Caillou or Peppa Pig, or they can use cartoons, such as cars and trucks. The videos have seemingly child-friendly titles and start normally, but then they become strange and even extremely inappropriate. Those who believe these videos, which have been dubbed YouTube Poop, have figured out how to use hashtags and words that help Google classify content to mislead the algorithm (the program decides what to show when people do searches, in each category, etc.). Bad and inappropriate videos are more common on the main YouTube channel, the company is aware of this problem and is trying to remedy it by having more people checking the content. However, there have been a few cases of disturbing videos that have appeared on the children’s app, including a well-known case of a cartoon that had instructions for suicide in the middle.

 

What is YouTube doing to increase the safety of children in the app?

 

In addition to parental controls, content filtering and deactivating the search, YouTube has made some changes to its policies to try to improve the application. The company announced that when the videos are reported on the main YouTube app, they will automatically be restricted by age and therefore blocked on the Kids app. It will also remove the financial incentive for creators of inappropriate content by eliminating their ability to post advertisements on age-restricted content. The addition of people who review content marked as inappropriate and search for inappropriate videos to remove them should help a lot. Google did this after concerns were raised about disturbing videos that duped the algorithm and appeared on YouTube Kids. Also, the content of app partners such as PBS and Kidzbop helps reduce risk. However, it remains important to review what your children see and use parental controls to keep the children’s experience safe and fun.

 

What can I do if my son sees disturbing content?

 

As with any app that contains user-generated content, it is advisable to closely monitor and view the videos together when possible. If you find a disturbing video, you can block it, ensuring that the video does not reappear. You can also report it, which alerts YouTube to offensive content so that their team can review and remove it if necessary.

 

What alternatives are there to YouTube Kids?

It may be the largest, but YouTube is not the only fish in the sea. You can find video streaming apps with a stricter selection method and parental controls, many producer content, and other functions useful to the family.

Download YouTube videos: 10 best tools 2021

 

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