How do you keep your children safe on YouTube?
Have you taken a closer look at what your children are looking up online?
A report from Good Morning America found that even with standard safeguards that parents place on their mobile phones and other Internet-capable devices, when it comes to YouTube, they may not be doing enough.
“YouTube is the biggest pain point for parents,” Jill Murphy, editor-in-chief of Common Sense Media, said in the report. “Part of it is parents feeling like they are in the dark and have no idea of what their kids are up to online.”
GMA even talked with children aged 10 to 13 about what they look up on the video sharing website, and some have even agreed YouTube doesn’t do enough to block inappropriate content.
The SuperMarioLogan channel in particular, is a prime suspect for drawing children in with what seemed like ‘kid-friendly’ content, but upon a review by Common Sense Media, found that it was targeted to 17 year olds/.
“I think that sometimes kids get drawn in. It’s not their fault“ said 13-year-old Aubrey. “It looks kid-friendly. But then you watch it, and you don’t really know that it’s not.”
Sam, 11, added that after stumbling upon the channel, it ‘reeled him in’ to watch more suggested videos which contained more or less the same content.
“It attracts kids because you wouldn’t think of him as inappropriate because of the way he looks,” said 13-year-old David.
Murphy added that at a young age, children using YouTube aren’t capable yet to have the sense to turn it off or step away from the auto-played videos.
“Developmentally, kids aren’t even primed at that age to have the wherewithal to shut off YouTube, the autoplay. They don’t even have the self-control to manage that,” she added.
So then, what is a parent to do?
YouTube in a statement to GMA said they have YouTube Kids, their main site for children aged 13 and above, because in the first place, it states in its terms of service that the video sharing site is not intended for children under age 13.
“Beyond that, we’ve ramped up our efforts to age-gate flagged videos on the main app that are better suited for older audiences and increased resources to remove content that doesn’t adhere to our policies. We know there’s more work to be done so we’ve enlisted third-party experts to help us assess this evolving landscape, and we’re launching new tools in YouTube Kids for parents to choose a personalized experience for their child,” they continued.
YouTube also told GMA it has since added more parental controls on YouTube Kids so only videos “screened by human moderators” can be used.
Take note though, parents have to turn the controls on themselves, and by turning the ‘Search’ function off, parents can limit kids to videos that have been verified safe and kid-friendly by the YouTube Kids Team.
You can also choose channels recommended by YouTube Kids and their partners, and they are rolling out a feature next year that can allow parents to handpick videos.
More importantly, it’s best to discuss with your child the material that is allowed to them on the Internet, and if they accidentally stumble on inappropriate content, it’s best to sit them down and explain why it is not allowed.