Did you know that numerous kid-friendly YouTube channels and videos rank highly in terms of both subscriber base and total views? This being the case, it should come as no surprise that in 2015, the world’s top video-streaming network launched YouTube Kids, aimed squarely towards the demographic of children under the age of 12.
Is it, however, risky for kids to use YouTube Kids? What sort of security and privacy settings are available, particularly for families? Questions like these are addressed in this page. In order to learn how to use YouTube Kids safely, I highly recommend reading on.
Can You Explain the Difference Between Regular You Tube and You Tube Kids?
Designed exclusively for kids aged 2 to 12, Youtube Kids is an offshoot of the popular video-sharing website. The app and website are free to use, and they offer programming aimed at kids such as music videos, TV series, instructional videos, and user-created content.
YouTube Kids appeals to kids because of its bright design, charming audio effects, and intuitive graphical menus. Videos may be browsed with a left/right swipe, and channels can be seen using the tabbed navigation at the app’s top. Over 35 million kids and young people in more than 80 countries watch YouTube Kids every week as of February 2021.
The service is not available to kids right away. Initially, a parent must set it up for their kids with appropriate safeguards. Eight different user profiles can be made, each with its own set of restrictions based on the user’s age. The three age brackets are as follows:
- Little ones less than four can start their formal education at a preschool.
- Intended for younger children, ages 5 to 8.
- This is a more mature option for children ages 9-12.
While the algorithm does a good job of selecting age-appropriate content for children, there have been numerous instances where unsuitable movies, information, or advertisements have made it through to children. In light of this, I’m curious to know how secure YouTube Kids is for kids. Below, we will analyse this in greater depth.
Is It Okay for Children to Use You Tube?
The videos found on YouTube Kids are taken from the original YouTube app, with the inappropriate ones removed by a special algorithm. Algorithms are not perfect and cannot detect subtleties in text. Although YouTube Kids is generally safe, there is always a potential that some ads or videos with explicit content (such as sexuality, violence, or language) will get through.
For instance, the recent viral success of Squid Game on Netflix has spawned a wave of popular children-oriented video material, despite the fact that the show is extremely violent and intended for an older demographic. Despite the show’s violent nature, its enormous popularity has made it a staple of kids’ internet culture. The possible risk to youngsters is alarming.
Not for the first time, YouTube has adapted adult material for a younger audience. The New York Times reported in 2017 on how seemingly harmless movies using popular children’s cartoon characters can include unpleasant, obscene, or violent content. For some reason, YouTube’s algorithm classifies these kid-friendly characters as “suitable” for a young audience, even if the content they convey is clearly improper for children.
In response, Google, which owns YouTube, has increased the number of human monitors it uses. In order to ensure that only appropriate content is available on YouTube Kids, these moderators can evaluate videos manually.
Parents can also complain and block movies they deem improper for their children. However, this typically occurs after children have already been exposed to upsetting material, which is a constraint.
Teaching Tools for Children on You Tube
- There are four main sections on YouTube Kids, each devoted to a specific topic:
- episodes and excerpts from well-known kids’ shows and cartoons, such as Thomas and Friends, Peppa Pig, and Winnie the Pooh.
- This album is filled with both old and new children’s favourites.
- Educational videos from PBS Kids, TED-Ed, and the Khan Academy.
- Toy-related videos (including many “unboxing” clips) and other random “kid-friendly” content are shown in the Explore section.
- Also, the “Gaming” portion of the “Older” kids profile has videos covering games like Minecraft and Pokemon GO that are popular with youngsters.
Commercials for Children’s Viewing on You Tube
Paid advertisements are used to support the free content on YouTube Kids, much like on the regular YouTube app. In order to ensure that these advertisements are appropriate for all ages, the site claims to use a stringent screening procedure. Your child’s viewing habits are used to tailor ads, which will never direct your child to a website or prompt a purchase.
On the other hand, YouTube Kids is home to a plethora of channels hosted by brands and child “influencers” who provide advertorial content disguised as entertainment. Video advertisements from toy manufacturers, fast food joints, and video game brands are all directed squarely at the youth market.
To encourage kids to buy the products they witness other kids opening on “unboxing videos,” this technique has become increasingly popular. As opposed to traditional sponsored advertisements, which can be skipped with a YouTube Premium subscription, this type of content is more troubling. Children are less likely to recognise an unboxing video for what it really is—a well disguised advertisement—because it is usually produced by an influencer the kids already look up to.
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Increasing the Security of YouTube for Children
YouTube for children provides benefits despite some potential drawbacks. It has a wide variety of entertaining and instructive shows that can broaden the horizons of its young viewers and encourage their development as individuals. Because of this, you should feel comfortable letting your children use the service.
The good news is, just like with regular YouTube, adjusting the privacy settings for YouTube Kids is a breeze, so you can keep tabs on what your kids are watching and doing. The following sections detail several of those procedures.