First things first, why should you use parental controls?
You have every reason to use parental controls for YouTube. It’s like the safety lock on a gun or you end up firing the bullet. OK, too dark there. But hey, there’s a reason locks are in place.
Parental controls for YouTube let your child stay safe. In an online world, you don’t want your kids to become a victim. Or watch something they don’t have to.
There are all kinds of content on YouTube. Some fun, some weird, while some downright cringe.
As parents, a lot rides on our shoulders because we are the caretakers.
Reasons you should put up a lock
- Adult content. Of course, you want to restrict that.
- Dangerous content such as violent trailers. Or similar videos.
- Videos with pervasive language use. Or those with swear words. You don’t want your child to come up to you and say, “Hey, f*ck that” because you were too busy minding your own business.
- The language that’s not English or, the one that’s not in your local language. I’ve my kids watch Arabic content. Although it was kids in there we had no clue what they were saying. But, they were having fun.
- Actions or items that may not be suitable for kids to view. Middle finger gestures, guns, drugs, etc.
- Anything that damages children’s mental health for example rude comments. Also, cybercriminals and pedophiles lurk everywhere. Yes, even on YouTube can get to them.
Now no parent in their sane mind would let their kids watch such content. Yet, the beauty and curse of YouTube are, it’s a rabbit hole. You tap on one thing in the start and you find yourself somewhere else through suggested videos.
We’ve all been there. Imagine children.
How you can use parental controls:
- Access YouTube.com and sign in to your Google account linked with YouTube
- On the settings icon in the left sidebar, scroll down to the menu that reads Restricted Mode “Off”
- Select to turn the toggle on
- Click Save
The same formula of YouTube parental lock applies to any other browser or mobile browser.
Set parental controls for YouTube on phones and tablets
It is very much likely that you and I will hand over our phones and tablets to our kids. If we haven’t already bought it for them. They will go and visit all sorts of channels and videos. I usually block the channel or a particular video if I find it as “not appropriate”.
So better safe than sorry and here’s how you can safeguard your phone and tablets.
On your iOS, follow these steps:
- Tap your account button at the top right corner
- Then click Settings
- Choose Restricted Mode filtering
- And then turn on the Restricted Mode
On your Android phone, do the following:
- Log in to your Google account or tap on your account in the top right corner of the app
- Click Settings (three dots icon) > General
- Turn on the Restricted Mode
You should log out after your child has used the phone/tablet or the browser on your computer. Kids are smart and at our age, we couldn’t do such things but today they can go and turn off the Restricted Mode. And your efforts will go to waste. So be careful.
The best advice on the market you’ll often find is to switch to the dedicated YouTube Kids app. Well, it’s good to rely on an app that’s designed for kids. But you must exercise care lest they end up watching content that’s not age-appropriate.
On your phone, configure the app by selecting the age bracket for your child then sign in. And check progress by going through their viewing history. Or if you hear or see anything you don’t like, you can block the channel or downvote the video. It won’t show in the feed. But you have to log in to exercise these controls.
YouTube Kids app comes with a passcode that the parent can use to access settings. So that way it’s way safer than the YouTube.com
Other measures to exercise parental controls for YouTube
Another measure you can adopt to ensure the safety of your kids online is to turn on the Safe Search in Google. By enabling Google’s Safe Search no video that isn’t kids friendly will show up. Let alone accessible. Here’s how to do that:
- On Google.com, click Settings at the bottom right corner of the page
- Choose Search Settings
- Mark the checkbox next to turn on Safe Search
- Then follow it up by clicking Lock Safe Search so it isn’t turned off by mistake
Besides, you can also turn off your Google Assistant on your phone. We know Google is listening. It’s unlikely but if your kids are accessing searches by speaking into the device then you have a problem. And parental controls for YouTube are in order.
How to turn off Google Assistant for Android
Turn off Google Assistant by following these steps. I know it will limit your chances of commanding Google but hey safety first!
It takes a minute:
- Visit the Google app on your phone
- Tap on your account photo and select Assistant Settings
- Click on General
- Toggle off Google Assistant
You can use your voice command to tell Google to turn off the Assistant:
- Say something like, “okay Google, open the assistant settings for me”
- Select General
- Toggle off the switch against Google Assistant
Sorry but the last two steps you will have to do. Come on, get off your lazy arse!
Check by giving commands to Google Assistant for example: “play baby shark do doo”. No Baby Shark this time. The downside is it would restrict access to even kids-oriented content.
For added peace of mind, you can choose to install a “net nanny” device that web filters your house. Instead of changing settings on individual devices, a net nanny works at a network level. And block any sites, keywords, or content that you deem as inappropriate.
Some of the famous parental lock devices of this nature are:
- Smart Mesh Router and Parental Control System by Gryphon
- Guardian Advanced Parental Control System by Gryphon
- Safe Internet Filter by The Cleaner
- Parental Control Device by Circle
As a privacy precaution. Or if you’re cybersecurity conscious. You can disable Google’s listening abilities and Google microphone permissions. But that’s a topic for another day.