Google have announced that it will add more parental controls to its YouTube Kids app. In this blog we look at what those new controls are and why they have come into place.
What is YouTube Kids?
YouTube Kids is an app created to be a family-friendly version of YouTube for younger children, with parental control features and video filters in place.
New parental controls
Over the course of the next year, YouTube will be introducing three new parental control options in YouTube Kids:
- Collections by trusted partners and YouTube Kids (introduced this week)
This will allow parents to select the channels, collections of videos and topics they want their kids to access.
To do this: go into Profile Settings, and select from available collections such as Sesame Workshop and PBS KIDS.
YouTube have said that they will continue to add more partners to the available collections list over time.
- Parent approved content (coming soon)
This feature will allow parents to specifically handpick every video and channel available to their child in the app. This means that their children will not be able to see any content other than that which is handpicked by the parent or carer.
- Improved search-off control (starting this week)
Starting this week turning the ‘search function’ off will limit the YouTube Kids experience to channels that have been verified by the YouTube Kids team. This means that ‘search off’ will not include recommendations from the broader YouTube Kids community.
For parents who like the current version of YouTube Kids, the usual settings and wider selection of content are still available.
The need for this
YouTube currently uses algorithms to decide which videos can appear on YouTube Kids. This means that any video that is posted onto YouTube could appear on YouTube Kids if it meets the algorithm threshold and YouTube consider it to be suitable for younger viewers.
BBC Newsround found some videos on YouTube Kids which showed popular children’s TV characters in situations that younger viewers may find disturbing or upsetting.
These new parental controls are designed to help parents minimise the amount of unsuitable content that their child may come across on YouTube Kids.
Although YouTube Kids can be helpful, remember that no parental controls are perfect and that you may need to take some additional steps to ensure that your child is staying safe online. Some steps you can take are:
- Have a conversation about what they enjoy watching
Why not ask your child about the YouTube channels and videos they enjoy watching. By maintaining an open dialogue with your child and encouraging them to talk to you about their internet use, parents can help children access the amazing resources the internet has to offer whilst keeping them safe online.
- Decide together what they are going to watch
Help your child to make decision about the type of content they are going to watch next, this way it is more of a discussion between you both rather than it seeming like a purely parental decision. This can help your child to see why certain content may be more suitable for them, and help shape their future choices.
- Create a Family Agreement
A family agreement is a great way to start a conversation with your whole family about how you all use the internet and discuss together how to behave in a positive way when online at home, at school or at a friend’s house.