Many parents today (myself included) let their kids watch YouTube videos. Easily accessible from a variety of devices including mobile phones, tablets, or even televisions, YouTube is having a huge impact on the lives of children everywhere. Today I want to talk about the risks of using YouTube and to give you these essential YouTube Safety Tips for Kids.
YouTube can be great. It allows our children to watch age-appropriate videos no matter their age group. It’s a worldwide sensation that hosts shows in every language and from every country around the world. It’s also free to use, and you can curate the content, so your child will only watch content you approve of. Things have come a long way from the days when we were kids. Everything is on demand now and children are no longer stuck watching what’s on TV at any given moment.
In the last few months, however, I’ve been becoming more aware of the dangers that YouTube had kept so well-hidden. My daughter used to have only one show that she’d want to watch on Netflix. When she finished watching all the episodes available on Netflix, I let her watch some short videos of this show on YouTube.
Youtube automatically defaults to Auto-Playing videos, but the next video that it chose was some kind of Peppa Pig parody. This wasn’t official Peppa Pig content, but something made by a random person on the internet. They took the character from the show and created something else. In this case, it was a scary video of Peppa the Pig fighting sharks.
While I can understand instantly that this video is not a real Peppa Pig video, it’s not so simple for children. For my LO’ as well as many other kids, the differences between the original video and a parody or remake might be hard to see. In this situation, I was nearby, and once I heard the video playing I immediately found my LO so I could pause the video.
About YouTube AutoPlay And The Content Keywords
By default, YouTube will AutoPlay the next relevant video when the video you were watching has ended. The next video that plays is based on keywords that the creator has added to their description of the video.
In order to reach as many people as possible, the video creators often add many different keywords. This gives them more matches for search results and will autoplay their video more times than just using one keyword.
So what does this mean? It means that if you watch a Spiderman video for kids, the next video to autoplay could be a very disturbing video of Spiderman if you’re not careful.
YouTube AutoPlay is based on an AI (Artificial Intelligence) algorithm. There is no one who supervises the content. In fact, anyone can upload any video to YouTube and add any keywords they would like. YouTube doesn’t review the material or approve any video manually before releasing them for public consumption.
This all sounds dire, but I’m not suggesting that you should stop watching videos on YouTube. Instead, a few cautious steps will help you to have more control over the content that your little one is watching online.
6 Essential YouTube Safety Tips for Kids
1. Turn off the AutoPlay. Once it’s off, only you will be able to choose what the next video will be. The AutoPlay button will either be to the right or below the video that you’re currently watching.
2. To make sure this is a video that you would like your kids to watch, check who owns the channel and who uploaded the video.
3. Create a new Gmail account that will be used for the kids to watch YouTube. Log in to this account before you let your kids go on YouTube. This account will be used only to watch content for children. When you are browsing online or watching YouTube on your own, make sure that you log out from this account.
4. Create your own playlists on YouTube with videos you have allowed your kids to watch and play the playlist only.
5. Don’t let your kids watch videos alone in their room or without you being around. Always listen/supervise the screen so you will know exactly what they watch.
6. You can download videos to your own device and let your kids watch the videos you choose for them. In this case, less supervision is needed as you have 100% control of the content. When you let your kids use your device without your guidance, it is recommended to turn off the WiFi and the data.
What is your Point of view about letting Kids watch YouTube videos?
Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
If you want to learn more about this subject, this is a very interesting Ted Talk by James Bridle
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