Parents' Guide for Safe YouTube and Internet Browsing for Kids

parental controls youtube

You try hard to keep your kids safe from so many different risks, but they are exposed to endless online threats every day. Predators, offensive content, attempts at identity theft, and other things in real life that you wouldn't let them encounter are all waiting for them.

Shockingly, 1 in 5 U.S. teens say strangers online have confronted them in a sexual manner; only 25% told their parents.  As a parent, that’s terrifying.

Thanks to websites like YouTube and Reddit, young people have access to a virtually limitless pool of content. Worse, the Internet, the growth of smartphones, and the culture of social media allow us from anywhere to access these things. No matter what you think about it or how much you know about it, sites like YouTube are changing the way kids grow up.

Although it isn't necessarily a bad thing, kids have more access, some good and some bad, to new sources of information. It's easy to find useful information on YouTube, but stumbling across harmful or even malicious content is like that.

Limiting What Your Kids Watch on YouTube?

The response to this question is not straightforward. Fortunately, when it comes to managing YouTube and Internet access, there are choices open to parents. 

The number one priority for parents should be to teach their children to protect themselves online and use social media safely. You can't control anything your child does all the time as a mom, and older teens may want some digital privacy (and truly need it). Instead, when teaching your kids how to protect themselves online, concentrate on being vigilant about their protection.

Online Strangers

In addition to helping you to communicate with close friends and family members, websites such as Instagram and Twitter also open up contact with total strangers. Almost half of Facebook users accept friend requests from individuals they have never met before, and most users are acquainted with social media reports or chat requests that have gone wrong. But did you know that YouTube facilitates comments on most videos and that links posted by predatory adults hidden behind false profiles can be found in those comments sections?

What Do Children Do On The Internet

The Pew Research Center discovered in 2015 that 92% of teenagers go online every day and that 75% own a smartphone. An Australian study later revealed that in the past month, 95 percent of 8- to 11-year-olds accessed the Internet. 

YouTube, Facebook, and online games like Roblox were the most frequent websites they used. In reality, for many younger users, email and even text messages have taken a backseat to social media. Platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and others have an almost limitless content supply.

Apps For Parental Controls

Many modern computers, applications, and web browsers provide parental controls that limit children's access to certain content, but did you know that parental controls are already included in many antivirus software titles? With one installation, you have two layers of security. Some common alternatives include:

  • Bitdefender - The premium edition of Bitdefender comes with a lot of features, but some of them are distracting. These features include a filter for webcams, activity logs, history, and warnings, tracking of social media and cell phones, IP monitoring and blocking, monitoring of SMS and calls, blocking of websites and applications, and tracking locations. 
  • Norton-this household name involves the supervision of time, network, search, social media, and location, personal data security, access request, and support for up to 10 devices. 
  • Avast – the website blocking feature is less intrusive than the other options mentioned. Parents can block websites and keywords that are unique.

A fast search will show you which antivirus software contains parental controls, but in our experience, education and communication are the best way to promote healthy Internet browsing. 

Most sites, such as Netflix, have built-in parental controls that limit passcode content. Kid-focused user accounts are enabled by Netflix to block adult-only shows. In their setting's menus, iPhones also have parental controls. 

Through downloading such apps, some tech-savvy children can circumvent parental controls. Prevent them from doing so by giving them access to non-administrator user accounts on your operating system. Most would only allow new apps to be installed through those accounts.

Finally, teaching your children about some intelligent browsing habits goes a long way to ensuring their safety. You want them to be taught: 

  • Never share personal data such as your phone number, email, address, or personal photos online. 
  • Before you write, think. Anything you say online is attached to your profile, so don't post something you wouldn't want a teacher, a classmate, a family member, or a future employer to see. 
  • Understand that their online actions in real life will have consequences. 
  • Take some time on Facebook and other online sites to go through the privacy settings. 
  • Don't password for sharing. 
  • Without parental approval, don't meet someone you've befriended online.

YouTube has modernized access to digital media, and people of all ages use this famous video sharing platform. Many parents rely on YouTube to entertain or teach their kids, and while this works for many, there is a lot of disturbing YouTube material that masquerades as child-friendly. 

YouTube has it all: children's shows, gadget reviews, video game videos (known as "Let's Plays") interlaced with player commentary, and so much more. The content producers of YouTube are more than keen to have content that appeals to young kids.

But you can't find it to be all kid-friendly. You can find lots of malicious and racy content on YouTube. While users have the opportunity to "tag" inappropriate videos and a children's mode is offered by YouTube, these solutions are not ideal. Being mindful of what they are seeing is the only way to ensure stable viewing for really young kids.
  • Without headphones, let them watch so that you can listen in. 
  • From time to time, check their video history. 
  • When it comes to dubious material, consider the latest patterns (more on this later). 
  • Encourage them to watch kid-friendly channels that you know.
It's important to know how to recognize any questionable content your child might be exposed to on YouTube among the kid-friendly channels. There are countless outlets on the surface that seem innocent, but a closer look will show how upsetting the material really is.

YouTube Parental Controls

On YouTube, parental controls exist. They are far from ideal and will always slip through some poor content, but you can mitigate the likelihood that anything upsetting will be seen by your kids. This is what you can do through the parental controls of YouTube:
  • Block the types and producers of particular content. You can block it if there is a particular channel you are aware of or a genre of content. 
  • Enable only authorized content. Through approving unique content, parents may also control what their kids watch. Just this content and nothing else would be possible for children to watch. 
  • Turn off the hunt. You can turn off the search feature on YouTube. For parents of children who are capable of reading and writing, this is a great choice. 
  • Using limitations on YouTube Kids. This is a popular option for parents who want a kid-friendly version of YouTube. Although it does not block anything, a lot of the adult content is eliminated.
TikTok / Instagram / Facebook

TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram are still one of the most popular social media platforms, but younger audiences are increasingly turning away from it. If your child uses Facebook, chances are that getting a profile plays a major role in the ability of your child to fit in with peers at school. The normal online dangers are not only present but what your child shares will have an effect on his or her livelihood down the road. College admissions officers and work recruiters have indicated that content could damage the chances of an applicant on TikTok, Facebook / Instagram, and other platforms.

What does streaming videos have to do with that? A streaming feature called Instagram & Facebook Live was launched by Facebook. These are videos that are broadcast to the friends' list of the user, but they can be shared with the recording. That means raw, unedited footage of anything the user opted to broadcast can be shared to unconnected users. 


Snapchat is a mobile device messaging service where users can send friends' photos and videos. The app is popular with teenagers and young adults, and surveys have shown that Snapchat has been used by 32 percent of US teenagers. 

Unlike Facebook, without getting direct access to his or her account, you can not track your child's activities on Snapchat. Instead:
  • Ask your kid, along with you, to open Snapchat messages. 
  • Go to the settings of the app and ensure that messages can be received only from friends rather than strangers. 
"In 2014, when a third-party" snap saving "app was hacked, Snapchat was in the spotlight. More than 90,000 compromising images, many of which featured underage nudity, were leaked on the Internet. 

Note, "snaps" maybe photos or videos, so Snapchat is influenced by the same issues you might have about Facebook Live or YouTube content.

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