3 Ways to Make YouTube Safer for Children

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YouTube is a great alternative to cable for children thanks to the short running times and endless programming available. But YouTube can also open the doors to some undesirable avenues. I'm sure we all have a horror story or two of clicking on something that didn't turn out to be what you thought it was, but there are scarier consequences when it happens to a child.

Here's three easy ways to make YouTube safer for youthful eyes:

1. Use SafeSearch and Safety Mode
Like Google, YouTube utilizes a SafeSearch functionality to filter out potentially offensive or obscene content. They've got a good video overview of the feature, but it only really filters out offensive content, not necessarily comments on videos or tags. That's where Safety Mode comes in. It basically creates a filter for every element of the site, including comments. The one downside is that it needs to be turned on every time you visit the site, unless you use "Safety Lock". Here's how YouTube recommends locking the feature: 

  1. Sign in to your YouTube account.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of any YouTube page and click the drop-down menu in the "Safety" section.
  3. You will now have an additional option to lock this browser into Safety Mode.

2. Bookmark SafeSearch on Mobile
It's not uncommon these days for little ones to be watching videos on mobile devices or tablets, but YouTube's Safety Mode settings do not stick with your account from device to device. Rather, you need to seek out the Safe Search option every time you search on a mobile device or within the YouTube app. Consider bookmarking the Safe Search page for your child and always directing them to start there.  

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3. Consider a Third-Party Filter
No filtering option is going to be 100% accurate. And we all know an online troll is just trying to trick users. If you don't want to use the mobile site, or just want the extra security of knowing that someone else has done the work for you, consider a third-party app like WeetWoo! ($3.99) for iPhone or Children TV ($5.99) for Android. These apps compile kid safe videos on YouTube and presents them in a library format for easy viewing.

(Images: Tinkerbrad via Flickr's Creative Commons; services listed above.)

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