The question I get most often when I’m speaking is, “How can I set up my YouTube account for ‘family friendly’ viewing?” YouTube is a great resource. Here are some YouTube safety options you can use for your family. As always, I recommend talking to your kids about what they view online. Open communication is going to be key.
Set up Safety Mode
Think of Safety Mode as Parental Control for YouTube. Opting in to this setting will help screen out objectionable content you might not want your family to stumble across while enjoying YouTube. Enabling Safety Mode on YouTube automatically enables Google SafeSearch (his is a similar filter for Google Search). Please keep in mind that Safety Mode might not screen out all questionable content. (I give an example in the video below.)
Safety Mode works on your browser. If you use multiple browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Safari, IE), you’ll need to log in to YouTube and enable Safety Mode for each browser that your family uses. Be sure to log out of your YouTube account after enabling Safety Mode.
Here’s a quick video that will walk you through setting it up in a snap:
Safety Mode is great but, as with any filter, please don’t rely on the filter alone. Instead, be sure that you are talking to your kids about online safety. And remember, they need to be able to come to you if they feel unsafe or have questions.
Playlists make it easy for you to filter out content that isn’t age appropriate. Remember to begin allowing your kids to have a part in creating their playlists as they get older.
Sara at Happy Brown House has a great video showing how easy it is:
But, what about older kids?
How do you begin guiding kids so you can help them build towards full independence?
1. Watch with your kids. Kids naturally want to share videos they love with their friends and family. Let them know you are interested and invested in their lives.
2. Take the time to watch alone. If you are uncertain about a video or a creator your child has mentioned, take the time to research it. If your concerns are solid, share them with your child.
3. Encourage your child to subscribe or create playlists for their favorite videos and creators. It means they will be notified when new videos are uploaded. And, it means they have to search less to find what they want.
4. Comments, ads, and suggested videos can be clues. Are they helpful, encouraging, and appropriate? If not talk to your child about the fact that they have to constantly weed through them. How does this make them feel? Is this a positive or negative influence in their life?
YouTube can be a great resource for families. We can use it safely. And, in the process, we can guide our kids so they can learn safe guidelines for using YouTube.