000-017   000-080   000-089   000-104   000-105   000-106   070-461   100-101   100-105  , 100-105  , 101   101-400   102-400   1V0-601   1Y0-201   1Z0-051   1Z0-060   1Z0-061   1Z0-144   1z0-434   1Z0-803   1Z0-804   1z0-808   200-101   200-120   200-125  , 200-125  , 200-310   200-355   210-060   210-065   210-260   220-801   220-802   220-901   220-902   2V0-620   2V0-621   2V0-621D   300-070   300-075   300-101   300-115   300-135   3002   300-206   300-208   300-209   300-320   350-001   350-018   350-029   350-030   350-050   350-060   350-080   352-001   400-051   400-101   400-201   500-260   640-692   640-911   640-916   642-732   642-999   700-501   70-177   70-178   70-243   70-246   70-270   70-346   70-347   70-410   70-411   70-412   70-413   70-417   70-461   70-462   70-463   70-480   70-483   70-486   70-487   70-488   70-532   70-533   70-534   70-980   74-678   810-403   9A0-385   9L0-012   9L0-066   ADM-201   AWS-SYSOPS   C_TFIN52_66   c2010-652   c2010-657   CAP   CAS-002   CCA-500   CISM   CISSP   CRISC   EX200   EX300   HP0-S42   ICBB   ICGB   ITILFND   JK0-022   JN0-102   JN0-360   LX0-103   LX0-104   M70-101   MB2-704   MB2-707   MB5-705   MB6-703   N10-006   NS0-157   NSE4   OG0-091   OG0-093   PEGACPBA71V1   PMP   PR000041   SSCP   SY0-401   VCP550   000-080   1Z0-051   300-208   350-029   102-400   1z0-434   220-801   70-347   1Z0-804   210-260   640-911   300-135   NSE4   EX200   070-461   70-534   700-501   9L0-012   MB6-703   400-101   70-480   M70-101   SY0-401   PMP   1Z0-061   9A0-385   642-732   000-017   9L0-066   JN0-102   1Z0-061   70-411   1V0-601   300-206   400-051   MB2-707   640-692   101   70-346   CISSP   HP0-S42   PR000041   PMP   300-075   200-125  , 300-135   CCA-500   2V0-620   CISM   OG0-093  

Making “YouTube Kids” Safer for Your Children – Greater Pensacola Parents

Making “YouTube Kids” Safer for Your Children

Kids love videos—the sillier the better. And it’s a rare parent who hasn’t used them to secure a little quiet time. Today YouTube is, by far, the largest source of videos of all kinds. When they created an app for children in 2015, many parents assumed the content would be carefully curated and reliably child-friendly.

Much of it is. YouTubeKids lets even young children happily swipe through a vast collection of content, much of it featuring familiar characters like Winnie the Pooh, Peppah Pig and PAW Patrol. Education clips are also plentiful, many from reputable sources like Khan’s Academy and PBS Kids. Mixed into this stew are videos created by users which vary enormously in content and quality.  A small percentage include bizarre and even traumatizing images, sometimes of those same beloved characters doing lewd and violent things.

How does this happen? Google uses artificial intelligence to decide whether a video is suitable for children. Although AI has come a long way, it doesn’t always spot problems that would be glaringly obvious to people. It may, for example, miss the nuance that distinguishes adult satire from the innocent content it’s meant to mock.  And it’s often oblivious to trolls and clickbait—content created simply to lure clicks that generate revenue.

In its defense, Google warns that children may encounter inappropriate content and asks that parents flag such material so other kids won’t see it. Of course, that’s a significant change. In the past, parents could assume children’s media was created with the well-being of kids in mind. On YouTubeKids, at least some of the videos are created to satisfy algorithms, stringing together content associated with key words in ways that are at best nonsensical and at worst disturbing. Google keeps changing its policies in an effort to stay ahead of so-called bad actors, but often it seems the robots and their handlers are playing catch-up.

Even when content is properly curated, parents need to be aware that children see a lot of commercial messages on YouTubeKids. The Red subscription may be free of paid advertising, but children still have access to entire channels created by companies like Hasbro or McDonalds. They’re also likely to encounter unboxing videos, short segments in which someone breathlessly unwraps a toy or a sweet, a process that seems designed to incite cravings in kids.

Unfortunately, the parental controls for YouTubeKids are very limited. Parents can’t set their own filters for content or create playlists of acceptable videos such as those reviewed  by Common Sense Media (commonsensemedia.org/youtube-reviews). Most kids will still explore by swiping, so it’s good to know about these options:

Change the password.  Find the Grown-ups only section in the YouTubeKids app, and unlock it by using the random four digit passcode. The numbers are spelled out so pre-readers can’t use the code.  For any child at the edge of literacy, find the “Set my own Passcode” button and do it.

Disable search.  Searching for videos increases the likelihood that children will see something unsuitable. Google allows parents to set up a profile for each child, so search can be enable or disabled depending on the child’s age and self control. Off should be the default. Tap the lock icon in the lower-right, enter the password, choose settings, create or find your child’s profile, and toggle off search.

Review history. Because YouTubeKids doesn’t have filters, parents can’t necessarily keep kids from seeing something they don’t want them to see. The app does make it easy to review history which at least allows a conversation, after the fact, about why a video is objectionable.

Block videos you don’t want your child to see.  If you see something unsuitable for your child, block the video or the entire channel. Just tap the triple-dot button for the video and then tap block.

Report videos no child should see. Reporting gets the attention of human screeners who are actually counting on conscientious parents to let them know about unsuitable content that slipped by the robots. Think of this as a public service. If you see something, say something by tapping the triple-dot button and then Report.

Set limits. To its credit, YouTubeKids does include a timer.  Once it’s set, a colored progress bar lets your child see how much time is left in a session.  When the clock runs out, a “Time’s Up” animation appears and the app locks until a parent enters the access code.

Consider other options. Last but not least, consider other options. YouTubeKids may have the largest collection of videos but, when it comes to kids, quality is preferable to quantity. Companies like Disney, Nick Jr, and PBS Kids have brands to protect so they are likely to be more careful about what appears in their apps. For other possibilities, consult the list of video alternatives compiled by Common Sense Media (www.commonsensemedia.org/lists/streaming-video-apps).

Regardless of where your child watches videos, talk often about what your child is seeing and ask questions that develop critical thinking skills. Why does your child like certain characters? Are they behaving in a way that would be OK if a real person did it?  Why is something funny? Did your child learn anything from the video? Is someone trying to get them to buy or do something? Having these conversations helps children become more discerning about what they watch, a skill that will be only become more valuable as they get older.


Carolyn Jabs, M.A., has been writing the Growing Up Online column for ten year. She is also the author of Cooperative Wisdom: Bringing People Together When Things Fall Apart.  Available at Amazon and Cooperative Wisdom.org.  @ Copyright, 2018, Carolyn Jabs.  All rights reserved.


Carolyn Jabs

Carolyn Jabs, M.A., raised three computer savvy kids including one with special needs. She has been writing Growing Up Online for ten years and is working on a book about constructive responses to conflict. Visit www.growing-up-online.com to read other columns. @ Copyright, 2016, Carolyn Jabs. All rights reserved.