YouTube Kids is filled with a lot of great content for young ones, but that doesn’t mean it’s age or situationally appropriate. How can you ensure your child is watching something of which you’d approve? With Parental Controls.
Digital Video Is Here
The digital video industry is huge and growing at a rapid rate. Some of its best customers — kids. Almost 50 million viewers are children between the ages of 0 -17 years-old, according to eMarketer. The market research company adds that 24.2 million kids ages 11 and younger watch digital video; a number that’s growing. The favorite source of digital video for kids six to12 years-old is YouTube, with Netflix trailing just behind.
Unlike movies or shows with ratings that speak to age appropriate content, digital video doesn’t always adhere to the same standards, creating a new challenge for parents. How can you filter what your kids see while they’re online?
Parentology touched base with YouTube via email to learn more about its YouTube Kids app, which launched in 2015. YouTube Kids utilizes a combination of automated filters, human review and feedback from parents and experts. According to YouTube, its goal with YouTube Kids is to serve as a family-friendly platform where kids can explore their interests and parents can control usage and content.
YouTube Kids Parental Controls Help
YouTube Kids screens its content, but that doesn’t mean you want your child watching everything they’ve deemed appropriate. That’s where parental controls come into play. Parental controls allow you to control your child’s search capabilities, screen time and content. It’s also possible for parents to block videos.
Some intricacies YouTube Kids tuned us into in terms of their Parental Controls:
- YouTube Kids offers ‘Search on” or “Search off’ capabilities. Programming for “Search on” gives user (aka your child) access to millions more YouTube Kids videos beyond those on the home screen and to search for content on their own. “Search off” restrict the user to a limited set of videos.
- Parents can select the individual videos, channels, or collections of channels their kids can access.
- Trusted channels are those YouTube Kids offers from sources including Sesame Street and PBS. Specialty channels are available, too, with specified topics from music and sports to arts and education.
- A timer within the app can be set to limit screen time.
- Parents can create profiles for their kids to help further tailor their YouTube Kids experience.
How Do You Know What They’ve Seen?
All of these systems and controls definitely help, but there’s no guarantee questionable content won’t get through oversight and algorithms. It’s nearly impossible to know exactly what your child is watching unless you’re watching right alongside them.
Parentology asked if it was possible to track kids’ viewing history and, according to YouTube, it is. Recently watched videos can be found in the “Watch It Again” section on the YouTube Kids app. Tapping “Recommended” at the top of the home screen will also display what your child’s been watching.
When delving into how YouTube Kids filters its content, here’s what we learned:
- YouTube Kids doesn’t allow comments.
- Its limited selection of videos have been curated through a mixture of machine learning and human review.
- Since YouTube Kids’ 2015 launch, the above-mentioned combination of human review, machine learning and expert engagement are used to stay on top of the apps safety by making constant changes. Additionally, the app is trained to provide educational and enriching content.
- Who’s given the ability to truly curate their children’s content: parents. Through Parental Controls, they can allow content from trusted partners like Sesame Street, PBS Kids and other videos and channels they’ve vetted themselves when becoming aware of what’s available on YouTube Kids.
The online world can be a scary place for parents. Spending a few minutes to get to know the digital video apps and their controls can save a lot of worry. Continually checking in with your kids about what they’re watching, and watching with them, is a great way to stay on top of their digital video consumption.
YouTube Kids Parental Controls — Sources