How Two New Features Help Parents Keep Kids Safe When Watching Online Videos

"A parent may find something they don’t want their child to watch ..."

The internet can be a great source of information and entertainment, but it can be important for parents to monitor what their kids are finding and watching online. 

This is particularly relevant for YouTube, considering the amount of easily digestible video content available through the platform. Last week, YouTube announced its new parental controls, making it easier for parents to make the necessary adjustments to what their children can see.

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"We believe that no two families are the same — and that their needs are ever-changing as they grow up," it says in a statement on YouTube's blog. "That's why we are committed to building YouTube Kids in a way that offers kids the content they love and grown-ups the tools to customize the app as they see fit. Today we're excited to launch two updates we think families will really enjoy: parent-approved content and a new experience for older kids."

The parent-approved content option, apparently "highly requested," lets parents chose every video and channel available to their child. YouTube explains that parents can enable to feature in the app through the settings section, and then choose to add their selections and search for specific creators and videos. Once enabled, kids cannot search for content on their own.

The second update allows parents to decide between "Younger" and "Older" content.

"We have launched a new experience geared toward 8-12 year-olds that includes additional new content, like popular music and gaming videos. If parents think their kids are ready, they can pick this 'Older' version when setting up a new profile or updating an existing profile. The 'Younger' version is the default content experience and will continue to have a wide selection of sing-alongs and age-appropriate learning videos. Parents can change between 'Younger,' 'Older' and parent-approved content at any time." 

Of course, everyone's perspective on YouTube's content is different, and YouTube encourages parents to still keep an eye on the videos served in these settings. 

"It's always possible that a parent may find something they don't want their child to watch in the 'Younger' or 'Older' experiences. If this happens, we ask that parents block and flag the video for review by our team. This makes YouTube Kids better for everyone," YouTube explains. 

This isn't the first time we've seen steps being taken towards keeping kids safe online. In 2016, A Plus featured seven cellphone rules parents can offer babysitters to help protect their children. In 2018, Thorn gave us some tips for empowering girls and young women to fight back against sexting requests that make them feel uncomfortable, and one father shared why he created an anti-cyberbullying app meant "to empower parents to work with their children to keep them safe." 

Then in August, Facebook announced a new Digital Literacy Library that would help educators and parents teach young people how to better "navigate the digital world, critically consume information and responsibly produce and share content."

Altogether, it's important that we work together to keep the internet a safe space for all its users, and perhaps one of these controls is something you'd consider for your own family. 

(H/T: Scary Mommy)

Cover image: Petr Bonek / Shutterstock.com

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