YouTube Kids is a special app meant for children that can help them get access to kid-friendly content to watch and download.
Though there is no specific age range for this app, it is suitable for children between the ages of 3 and 8.
This app also comes with many ads, though the ads are reviews to make sure that they are appropriate for children.
Yet, there is some inappropriate content even on this kid-friendly app. So what can you do as parents to keep your children safe on YouTube Kids? Read on for some tips:
1. Restricted Mode
Restrict the content that your children watch by blocking videos or a channel that you don’t want them to watch. You can clear the blocked videos whenever you wish by accessing the feature in the Settings.
- Sign in to the app and tap on the More icon seen beside the video you wish to block.
- Tap on Block this Video; or Block this Channel.
- Finally, enter your customized passcode or the numbers on the screen to confirm.
- You can also go to the Watch Page and access More; then tap on Block. Hit Block this Video (or Channel) and then tap on Block again. Enter the passcode or screen numbers to confirm.
- To unblock, sign in and access Settings. Tap on “Unblock videos” and agree to “Yes, unblock.”
2. Turn Off Search
Children can search in the app by clicking on the magnifying glass icon or the microphone icon. When you turn Search off, children cannot search for a specific video and can only view videos from channels verified by the YouTube Kids app.
- Go to Parental Settings
- Toggle to put Search Off.
- “All watch” as well as “Search history” will get cleared, and “Recommended Videos” as well as “Watch it Again” will be reset.
3. Reporting and Blocking
If you view some objectionable videos or channels on the app, you can report it or flag it.
- Sign in to the app.
- Go to the Watch Page of the objectionable video.
- Tap on “More” and then on “Report.”
- Choose one of the given reasons for reporting or flagging the video, such as inappropriate visuals, audio, etc.
The app reviews flagged videos every day and removes inappropriate content.
Tip: There is no point in repeatedly flagging a specific video, as it does not improve chances of removal in any way.
4. Use an App for Blocking Ads from the Chrome Web Store
If you feel the ads appearing while videos playing are objectionable, you can use an app from the Chrome Web Store in order to block them. YouTube Kids, like the YouTube website, is full of banner ads and pre roll ads that play before and during a video.
Chrome allows customization of browsing using extensions and add-ons.
- Firstly, launch Chrome and go to the Chrome Web Store.
- Search for Ad Blocker and view all the ad blocking extensions. Select a high-rated one.
- Add it to Chrome by tapping on Add Extension.
- Check YouTube Kids and see whether the ads are disabled. If the ads still appear, uninstall this extension and try another one.
Alternatively, you can also opt for YouTube Premium, which is a standalone subscription in order to block out ads.
5. Setup a Custom Passcode on the Parents Only Screen
- Go to the lock icon and select Set my Own Passcode.
- Enter the numbers that you see.
- Full in your custom passcode and re-enter it for verification.
- You can also delete your custom passcode through the Settings.
- Tap again on the lock icon and enter the existing custom passcode.
- Choose Settings and tap on the Change Passcode option to set a new one.
- If you have forgotten your Custom passcode, you just uninstall the app and reinstall it, though you’ll lose all recommended videos and history.
6. Clear/Pause the Watch and Search History
YouTube Kids collects information on the videos that your children watch, in order to offer personalized recommendations and give contextual advertising. You can clear or pause the watch and search history as part of safety precautions for your children.
- Go to the Parental Settings part of the YouTube Kids app.
- If you have created multiple profiles for your children, you can clear the watch and search history for all of them or for separate profile.
- When you turn this option off, the app will not be able to use the search terms or the videos watched by your children for recommending videos.
All Recommended and Watch again videos are cleared by this process.
7. Setting up Google Family Link
You can manage the settings on YouTube Kids for your children’s Google account as well.
- Use the Family Link app to guide your children while they explore content on the YouTube Kids app.
- Create a Google account for the child.
- You can view the child’s activity by seeing the activity reports and the time they’re spending on it.
- You get notifications that allow you to approve or block an app from the Google Play Store, manage in-app purchases, hide apps, etc.
- You can set a limit on screen time, lock the device and even locate your children.
8. Select or Screen Specific Video Playlists of Content
Create a whitelist of videos that you want your children to watch on YouTube Kids. The app will then display only the selected videos.
- When you disable the Search feature in the Settings, you can see a new feature of Approved Content Only being turned on.
- Tap on this to recommend videos that you approve for your children.
- Within the menu, you can select from sorted categories such as Gaming, Learning or Arts and Crafts, and choose content that you want to add.
Recently, there has been a spate of complaints from parents that content is not being filtered appropriately, with some inappropriate animated videos slipping in through the cracks due to hacking of the algorithm. YouTube is also taking steps in banning such controversial videos, but automated systems and algorithms can never be perfect.