If you’ve ever wondered how to block videos on YouTube, or how you can establish a kid-safe YouTube environment for your child, the answer is simple- activate the Youtube Parental Controls. The parental control feature, like the name suggests, ensures that you have complete jurisdiction over the kind of content presented to your kids, regardless of your physical presence. This step-by-step guide will walk you through how to set up YouTube restrictions, as well as a few other tips for blocking mature content from your kids.
Use YouTube’s ‘Restricted’ Mode on Browsers
YouTube’s Restricted Mode is an optional parental control that “uses signals such as video title, description, metadata, Community Guidelines reviews, and age-restrictions to identify and filter out potentially mature content.” Of course, it’s not foolproof and questionable content can still get through, but it’s the best line of defense. The Youtube Parental Controls Mode is easy to turn on if you have a Google account. The only thing to remember is that it’s browser-level protection and must be turned on for each browser/computer your kids use.
Here’s how to do it:
- Access YouTube.com and sign in to your YouTube/Google account.
- Click the ‘Settings’ button in the left sidebar.
- Click the drop-down menu at the bottom of the page that reads: “Restricted Mode: Off.”
- Select “On” to lock Restricted Mode on this browser.
- Click ‘Save.”
You’re done, at least for this browser. Rinse and repeat with other browsers and other computers. Also, don’t forget to log out of your YouTube and Google account when you finish. Otherwise, a clever kid will quickly figure out how to undo all your hard work and turn Restricted Mode off. Just saying.
Update YouTube Permissions on Phones and Tablets
Since you’re also likely to hand over a tablet or phone, make sure Restricted Mode is enabled on both the device’s browser and the respective YouTube app. For mobile browsers, follow the procedures outlined above. For YouTube apps, the premise is the same:
- Click on your account button in the top right corner.
- Tap ‘Settings.’
- Click ‘Restricted Mode’ Filtering.
- Turn ‘Restricted Mode’ on.
- Log into your YouTube/Google account.
- Click on the “three-dot” icon for ‘Settings.’
- Select ‘Settings’ > ‘General.’
- Turn ‘Restricted Mode’ on.
Again, sign out if you have kids with above-average intellect.
Use the YouTube Kids App
For stricter controls on smart devices, try the YouTube Kids app for iOS and Android phones and tablets. It’s a completely different, kid-friendly interface that gives parents the opportunity to view channels and videos that have been reviewed by real people (not the imperfect algorithm that restricted mode uses) to make sure they’re safe for kids. You can also adjust age settings within the app to let older kids see stuff you might not want a younger kid to encounter just yet.
Turn on Google SafeSearch
Restricting content with the YouTube parental controls is fine and all, but let this be a friendly reminder that kids access mature material all over the internet. Your first priority should be turning on the ‘Safe Search’ filter in any browser your child uses.
- Go to Google.com
- Click ‘Settings’ in the bottom right corner.
- Select ‘Search Settings.’
- Check ‘Turn on SafeSearch” and click Lock SafeSearch.
Add Some Extra Protection
For added peace of mind ⏤ or if you’d rather not deal with having to change the settings on every laptop, tablet, or phone ⏤ you can also digital-proof your house by installing a ‘net nanny’ router or device. Unlike software that needs to be installed on every computer, these devices usually connect to your wifi network and create a forcefield around the joint, blocking specific sites, keywords, and content. Here are parental control devices to check out.