Making YouTube Safe For Kids

This article is intended for my readers who take care of young kids (age 2 to say 5 years old) by allowing them some hours in a day to play or use a home computer. I do not know if the procedure that I will discuss here can be applied to an i-café set-up should you happen to have some customers who bring kids and allow them to use a workstation in your shop.  As it should be, the kids must be protected and not allowed to browse sites unsuitable for them. I currently have a soon-to-be three (3) year old granddaughter (apo) who started sharing time on my desktop computer since some 3 or 4 months ago and I wish to share how I make YouTube safe for her.

Kids as young as 2-1/2 years old, as most parents would agree with me, are quite tech-savvy these days. They may be too young and still unable to read and write but they can still easily operate the YouTube site (using image thumbnails) without seeking the help of an adult.  My young apo can even start and shutdown my PC correctly so she doesn’t even need any help to use our computer whenever it is available.

That may be a good thing but the problem with YouTube is that it is not a very child-friendly site in terms of content. May apo may be watching a perfectly “safe for kids” video on YouTube but she may still accidentally run over videos that are not very appropriate for her so how do you prevent this from happening.

Google, the owner of YouTube,  has added a new security filter on the site which when turned on will automatically hide objectionable videos from the site. To activate the safety mode, just go to any YouTube page and look for the Safety mode: Off at the bottommost part. Click on the “Off” link and set the Safety mode to “On” as shown in the image below.

Safety mode in YouTube is a setting that may restore to its default “off” state once the browser is closed or the computer is restarted. If you want to make this lock permanent, sign-in to YouTube with your Google Account and choose “Save and Lock Safety mode” instead of just “Save”. The Safety Mode On is a great option but don’t be too excited as it isn’t fool proof yet. This is because YouTube relies on the ”crowd sourcing” model to determine age-restricted content - if the community doesn’t flag a video, the clip will bypass the Safety mode filter. A parental watch while the kids are using the computer is still the best way to make them safe while online.

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