YouTube Kids: Helpful or Harmful?
This blog post was written by our SGS Society Engagement Coordinator, Erin Anderson (and only slightly edited by our writing crew).
As with any web site out there today, we as caregivers, educators and parents need to know the facts.
YouTube Kids was formed on March 24, 1995. This was created to provide content that was geared more towards children, although the YouTube Kids site does suggest that the users be over 13 years of age.
With cartoons and kid friendly videos, it is easy to assume that YouTube Kids is protected from negative content. Unfortunately, this is far from true. The website may be mostly safe, but there is still a real chance kids could see things such as nudity and violence.
In reality, the app is a portal to the main YouTube service and uses an algorithm to filter out the “grown-up stuff” and funnel in more appropriate content. Although there is still a way to break through.
Tips to make YouTube Kids as safe as possible:
- Approval Option- Using this setting allows parents to sort through videos and select which ones they choose to grant their children access to. It will also prevent your child from being able to search for anything.
- Set individual passwords- Each child’s account should have a different password to prevent your 5-year-old from viewing videos selected for your 10-year-old.
- Numeric passcode- To enter settings on YouTube Kids you must answer a math equation as your child grows in the educational field change it to a four-digit code, one that can’t be solved with time tables.
- Time Limit- The app will not work past the time limit set for your children which limits screen time as well as protecting them for spending too much time exploring.
Here are some websites that are parents recommend for our younger users:
- Sesame Street- You can choose from hundreds of shows, games and coloring sheets that promote education and enjoyment.
- PBS Kids-Has various different types of games and videos divided by show and interest. It also includes a parent version of the site with resources and tips on raising children.
- Starfall- This service is distinguished between different age groups and allows educational games to mirror education in the classroom such as learning to read, colors and math for the older students.
- Disney Junior- Contains activities based on popular Disney Jr. television shows, all of which you can retrieve from online and then conduct as a family, helping to limit a child’s screen time each day.
There are so many other kid friendly sites out there, we need to remain vigilant for our children. As always and with any age, having an open communication about the internet is a key factor in keeping kids safe.
Remind your kids that when they are online, they should never talk to somebody they do not know. They should never share personal information, and if they ever feel uncomfortable with what they see, they need to tell a trusting adult right away.
For more about the safety of currently trending applications among today’s children, check out the SGS Resource Page.