Description: The king of video sharing websites, part of the Google family. The statistics around YouTube are mind-numbing; with over 100 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute (do the math!). It is accessible as an app or via its website).
Category: Photo/Video Sharing
APP Store rating: 12+ (“infrequent/mild cartoon/fantasy violence, alcohol, tobacco, drug, mature/suggestive themes, profanity or crude humor, sexual content and nudity,” etc.)
Porn Around the Corner – there’s just so much inappropriate material out there, and it’s not hard to get to it. Even if you’re watching clean videos, there are many thumbnail suggestions that come up at the end of videos that can be inappropriate or tempting.
Bad Influence – YouTube is a place for anyone to share any opinion he/she wants. So, if there’s a kid who has big questions (e.g., sexuality, faith, relationships), there will always be a video with someone who has things to say about any topic. Without the right monitoring, kids can be fed terrible and destructive information that is difficult to unwind.
Kid Friendly – In February, YouTube launched YouTube Kids, which filters out much of the junk and with monitoring from parents, it is great for kids through around age eight. My own children use it and love it. In May 2015, a watchdog group uncovered a few videos with adult content, including drug use, beer tasting, how to use matches, and how to tie a noose. Children should not be left alone to peruse videos, rather, parents should be actively monitoring YouTube and YouTube Kids videos 24/7.
With YouTube Kids, parents can select the small padlock icon in the lower right corner of the app, and after typing in a 4-digit code, in “settings,” the “search” feature can be disabled. This might prevent some older kids from trying to perform inappropriate searches.
Parental Controls? The short story is that whether you’re on a laptop or in the mobile environment, YouTube’s parental controls are just lacking. We did an extensive write-up on how to best use YouTube in this blog post.
Short story – with the app, there’s no way to guarantee anything. Please keep kids out of the YouTube app. But, if you push kids to use YouTube through a filtered and monitored browser like Mobicip or Covenant Eyes, then you can at least see where your kids are going. The bonus with Mobicip is that it’s the only filter we’ve tested that actually blocks the thumbnail images of inappropriate YouTube videos.
Parents just have to know that inappropriate content is pervasive. But, the right monitoring can make a huge difference. Mobicip is really the only way to achieve any sort of balance between filtering and monitoring YouTube based on our testing. For your upper-elementary or middle school-aged child, it’s the best YouTube solution we’ve tested.