In this first video of the Digital Parenting Live series, we cover a viewer’s question on how to control what your child watches on YouTube.
Hey guys, I want to welcome you to the first episode of Digital Parenting Live. This is where we are going to be actually answering the questions that you have. And trying to provide you answers to the digital parenting challenges that you’re going to run across on a daily basis. What we’re going to do is, we’re going to take questions. We’re going to deal with topics. And we’re just going to try to get these out in a quick way, so that you have information on how you can help your kids.
Today’s questions actually comes in from a listener. This question says, pretty simply, “On multiple occasions I found my child watching something they were not supposed to on the YouTube app. Even some of the content on the YouTube Kids app is awful. How can I control what my child watches on YouTube?”
Now, this is a great question and to be honest, this is one of the most common questions that I’ve been getting over the last month. I think the reason is, a lot of parents are starting to understand that YouTube, today, it’s like TV. This is where kids get their content. When a lot of us were kids, our parents would sit us up in front of the TV and you’d have some level of understanding that there’s some control here. There’s not going to be anything too crazy on there, but those controls don’t exist in the world that we’re in today.
Let me hit a couple of things. First is the YouTube Kids app. Now, you’ve seen, we did a Digital Parenting Minute episode on that a couple of weeks ago. Again, it is a good resource. It does provide some limiting of content for your kid, but there have been news reports that have come out, even within the last couple of weeks, about content that’s ended up on there that parents haven’t been thrilled with. Sometimes the algorithm that’s used to actually pick the content for YouTube Kids has been tricked by people that are putting things in that seem like they’re certain things, but they’re not.
Let me just reiterate with YouTube Kids, that is not an app that people review the content. Computers review that content to determine what goes in there. Even with YouTube Kids, you can’t be sure of what your kids are going to see.
Now, in addition to that, in terms of just the YouTube app, again, because YouTube makes money off of ads, because they’re trying to get you to stay on that site as long as you can, that’s why you get things like the suggested videos, other videos that you should go see. In most of the parents that I talk with, that’s where they run into trouble. Their kids get caught up in something that they didn’t intend, because of that, they end up watching something that they shouldn’t have.
Let me just reiterate a couple of things. There’s no way to watch YouTube, on the YouTube app, or in the browser, where you’re going to totally remove that danger from your kids. It’s up to you, as a parent, to decide what you’re going to do about that. Now, we recommend that, generally, you watch YouTube with your kids. That you don’t give them a device where they can go out of a public space, in your house, and actually go and try to watch content. Because that’s not going to turn out well, in most cases, even if you trust your kids. They’re going to end up sometimes on things that they don’t even realize are going to be objectionable.
Again, this is where, as a parent, we encourage you to take ownership, to actually dive in, and figure out what your kid’s watching and guide them through that. If you’re going to let them watch, if they’re older, and you’re going to let them watch some content, you want to be sure that, that’s under an account that you have access to, and you can go back, and you can look at all of the videos that they’ve actually watched.
Again, we hope this has been useful. Please, please, please, if you have questions, we want you guys to send these questions in. You can just send them in to firstname.lastname@example.org. That will actually enable you to be able to give us all the questions you have. We’ll take time, we’ll answer these one-by-one, as we get them in on this episode each Thursday. If we get enough questions, we might even start tackling a couple in the different episodes.
We hope you guys have enjoyed this first episode of Digital Parenting Live and we will see you next Thursday.