YouTube Parental Controls
YouTube is one of the highest trafficked websites in the world, and the #2 search engine behind only Google. Children are accessing billions of videos easier and easier from their mobile devices. The YouTube app makes these videos, many containing adult or X-rated content, accessible with just a few taps of their finger. Using Netsanity, you can now filter out the worst of YouTube making your children’s browsing experience safer. Check out our video to see our Youtube parental controls in action!
Video & Comment Filtering
With a single swipe of your finger, or click of your mouse, you will be able to enable powerful YouTube parental controls that filter out the stuff kids shouldn’t be seeing. Our filters also work on YouTube comment sections as well. This single toggle may look simple, but the technology behind it is extremely powerful. Try it for free today!
Frequently Asked Questions
Does this work on the Youtube app as well?
Simply enable the Youtube content filtering feature under Device Restrictions and you are good to go!
Do the YouTube parental controls work on Apple and Android?
You can watch the video on this page to see how easy it is to enable it.
Your child can use either the Youtube iOS or Android app, or visit youtube.com in their mobile browser and your settings will apply.
Is all nude and porn blocked via YouTube filtering?
While not 100% foolproof, many videos and comments are filtered and the results are significantly different than without filtering enabled.
What content is filtered when YouTube filtering is enabled?
How To Restrict Your Childrens’ YouTube Access
Even though YouTube doesn’t have a lot of the features of other social media sites, it is, along with Facebook, one of the top social sharing sites in the country. According to Pew Research, about 75 percent of adults and a whopping 94 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds in the United States use YouTube.
And, of course, kids use it, too.
There are millions of videos aimed specifically at children. Some of these are cartoons and educational videos; others are appealing to young people without being especially helpful or even appropriate.
The (Somewhat Obvious) Dangers of YouTube
Your mind is probably already running wild with thoughts on the type of content your child might see on YouTube. Despite the company’s policies against videos that threaten, feature bullying or pornography, incite violence, or encourage illegal or dangerous activities like drug use, there are several fine lines that allow children to be exposed to unsavory material.
For example, we’ve written before about the dangers of “What I Ate Today” vlogs. These food diaries are often created by girls who have no background or training in nutrition; indeed, they may have incredibly unhealthy eating habits, yet they can create a video telling other people about their meal plan. And why are they posting? Some want attention: perhaps they know they should have eaten more than three apples that day, but they know they’ll get a lot of comments that either praises their discipline or encourage them to eat more.
Others are getting free products in exchange for talking about them on their videos. Though these influencers are supposed to disclose their affiliations with partner companies, that information is not always clear, especially to a young viewer who doesn’t know to look for it and might not even know what that means.
Keep in mind that YouTube policies also allow for exceptions. Here’s a great example of what they mean:
“A video that contains nudity or other sexual content may be allowed if the primary purpose is educational, documentary, scientific, or artistic, and it isn’t gratuitously graphic.”
Just because it’s educational or scientific doesn’t mean your child is old enough or mature enough to view that content. It may be permissible by YouTube standards, but not by your parenting standards. (YouTube does put some age restrictions on certain videos, but it’s generally easy to bypass that restriction by lying about your age.)
Dangers You Might Not Have Considered
Graphic violence or sexual content are obvious no-nos for many parents. However, there are more subtle problems with YouTube when it comes to young children.
In this brilliant TED Talk, James Brindle explains how even seemingly child-friendly videos can turn into a nightmare:
“And so there’s autoplay, where it just keeps playing these videos over and over and over in a loop, endlessly for hours and hours at a time. And there’s so much weirdness in the system now that autoplay takes you to some pretty strange places. This is how, within a dozen steps, you can go from a cute video of a counting train to masturbating Mickey Mouse.”
He starts his talk by addressing the “surprise egg” videos, which are exactly what they sound like: someone opens a chocolate egg to reveal the toy inside. Over and over and over. Kids love it. It’s repetitive, and the little surprise of what’s inside is rewarding enough to make them want to see more.
“And if you try and take the screen away from them, they’ll scream…. It’s 2018, and someone, or lots of people, are using the same mechanism that, like, Facebook and Instagram are using to get you to keep checking that app, and they’re using it on YouTube to hack the brains of very small children in return for advertising revenue….”
But here’s the part that made us catch our breath. Even with a child’s cartoon on YouTube, a cartoon they might watch on television, a cartoon you’ve viewed and approved, we might be training our kids to be consumers and distributors of what is essentially fake news:
“So if you search for really popular kids’ cartoons…most of them aren’t posted by the original content creators…and it’s impossible to know who’s posting them or what their motives might be…. It’s impossible to know where this information is coming from. It’s basically fake news for kids, and we’re training them from birth to click on the very first link that comes along, regardless of what the source is.“
YouTube Parental Controls Are The Answer
As many parents know, handing a child a screen and playing a video is one of the simplest ways to get a little time and space to complete whatever task we have at hand. We’re not always proud of it, but it’s a back-pocket solution that most of us have used at some point.
YouTube does have its good points. Common Sense Media made this list of the 12 best YouTube channels for kids, which might be a good place to start if you want your child to be able to use YouTube. You could also download the YouTube Kids app, which features all child-friendly (at least by their standards) material.
However, you might also like to consider some alternatives to YouTube when it comes to your small children.
+ Instead of relying on a search for familiar cartoons and the autoplay function, use an app like Netflix or Hulu so your child can watch the cartoons without advertising. There’s also a smaller risk of them accidentally venturing into inappropriate material.
+ Download educational games they can play instead of watching a video every time they pick up the tablet. If it’s possible, offer real-life alternatives like toys, games, and art projects to help limit their overall screen time.
+ Use trustworthy parental controls to prevent your child from using certain apps and sites. You can block YouTube entirely on your children’s devices (or on yours, if they’re still too young to have their own). However, with parental controls like Netsanity, you can now filter out the worst of YouTube making your children’s browsing experience safer. That way they won’t accidentally come across an inappropriate or simply ridiculous video that does nothing to help them grow and that may, in fact, actually corrupt their development.
It’s not easy being a parent in the digital age, but with a little preparation and planning, we can help our children learn to use technology without falling victim to it.
“As a family we have tried numerous online safety options with our kids and this is by far the most comprehensive that we have used so far. Keep up the good work! My wife and I appreciate you all.”
“Despite all the rules we made, my kids always found a way to get around them and I always felt the Internet had more power than me. Oh but not any more. I’m finally in control. And I didn’t need a degree from MIT to stay one step ahead!”