YouTube – Adding Child Safety to the Menu

With millions of videos on YouTube, keeping your child safe from inappropriate videos has been a major challenge. There’s a significant amount of sexual content and violence…in fact, typing in the word “cartoon” on YouTube leads to over 300,000 hits and on the first page you find a video YouTubeentitled “very creepy, disturbing children’s cartoon, banned from TV”. And we all know how enticing something that is banned can seem. Scott Rubin, YouTube’s head of child safety, cites that “YouTube was never intended to be used by children under age 13”. Unfortunately the best of intentions do not always match the end result. So what is a parent to do??? You could of course choose to block YouTube entirely or keep a constant eye on your child while they scanned through the vast amount of video streams available to them. Finally however, there is another option for parents, one that should make the task of keeping your child safe a little more manageable.

As of last Thursday, YouTube’s parental controls will now be displayed on the bottom of every YouTube screen. You can also create a blocking filter to limit what YouTube will display. According to NY Times reporter Warren Buckleitner, here’s how to turn it on:

  1. Scroll to the bottom of any YouTube page.
  2. Click on the words “Safety Mode is Off.”
  3. Adjust the settings, click Save and start searching. To permanently lock on Safety Mode, you must log on to your YouTube account.

So how does Safety Mode work? CNET Senior Editor Natalie Del Conte describes Safety Mode as accomplishing three things: it “limits content on videos containing nudity, pornography, narcotics, graphic violence, and news events containing graphic violence; collapses all comments on videos automatically (you can choose to view comments, but comments with profanity will be filtered out); locks Safety Mode for all users, even if a user is logged out, so kids can’t turn off Safety Mode if they try to.”

Keep in mind, Safety Mode is both browser specific and account specific, so you must turn it on for every browser (i.e. Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc) and every account you want to filter. And make sure private browsing is disengaged since Safety Mode will not function if that is turned on. Still nothing is failsafe, so monitoring your child’s internet use remains the best policy. Knowing however that a child’s search for “naked” brings up a message that says “the word “naked” has been filtered from the search because Safety Mode is enabled” should provide concerned parents the ability to breathe a little easier

About the Author

Stefanie Zucker is President and co-founder of Pediatric Medical and Managing Director and co-founder of Axios Partners, a strategy consulting firm. After a number of years spent researching the safety issues associated with transporting children on ambulances she became a child health safety advocate and formed Pediatric Safety with a goal of creating a world-wide movement of parents and caregivers inspired to protect the health and safety of kids. Stefanie is a member of the PedSafe Team


3 Responses to “YouTube – Adding Child Safety to the Menu”

  1. Great post. I think Youtube is one of those overlooked places that parents don’t often think or know about. I love Youtube, and have it open constantly on my computer screen. (I listen to a lot of music while working, cleaning, etc.) My children love it too. Because I’m so familiar with it, I realize that you’re constantly only 2 clicks away from inappropriate things, and often videos “look” child-friendly, when indeed they are not.

    In our house, we’ve set up a system that works well for us. The girls (ages 7 and 3) have their own “playlists” with songs they like (usually songs I like, that they’ve asked me to add to theirs). They are ONLY to be on their playlists, and are NOT allowed to navigate away. The videos added to their playlists have to be approved by me.

    My 3 yr old is quite computer-savvy and can navigate around Youtube pretty well. People think its kind of funny when she’ll ask “can we add this song to my playlist?” 🙂

  2. Nichol says:

    oh what a great post. I’m not a huge youtuber but many are so this is great. Hi Stefanie how are you doing???
    .-= Nichol´s last blog ..Math Tips to Celebrate the DVD Release of LeapFrog: Math Adventure to the Moon! =-.

  3. Sarah Marturano says:

    Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting on my choking post. I’m glad to have found your blog!


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