YouTube is filled with videos that entertain and enlighten, but not all content is age-appropriate on the viral video service. Keeping your children safe on the platform is challenging unless you know how to put parental controls on YouTube. Unfortunately, that’s something easier said than done due to Google policies and YouTube settings.
Before you can add parental controls to YouTube or block content, you’ll need to understand a little more about the service itself. We’re going to cover that while telling you how to keep inappropriate content away from your children on the platform.
What Are YouTube Parental Controls?
When they hear the term “parental controls,” many people assume there’s a setting that makes certain types of content magically disappear from YouTube. It’s not that easy, however, as a YouTube account is tied to a Google account.
Anyone can open a Google account themselves if they are 13 years of age. When unsupervised, that gives them access to all the content YouTube provides, including mature material – unless you rein things in. There are a few ways to do that depending on the age of your child, but the best solution for many parents is a supervised account on YouTube.
These accounts are only useful for children under the age of 13 in the United States, although the age requirements vary in other countries. If your child is above that age, there are still some solutions you can lean on, including restricted mode and YouTube Kids.
How to Put Parental Controls on YouTube
If your child is under the age of 13, the best way to protect them from YouTube videos you don’t want them to view is through a supervised account. This will give you total control over the content and their account in general.
Step 1: Set up a Google Account
If your child already has a Google account set up, you can skip this step. Otherwise, you’ll need to create an account through Google for your child before proceeding. When setting up an account for a child, you will link it to one or both of the parent’s Google accounts.
Step 2: Go to YouTube
Once you’ve connected your child’s Google account to your own, the easiest way to make adjustments is from the YouTube website. Once there, log in to the parent’s account linked to your child, open up the menu, and choose Settings.
Step 3: Access Parent Settings
After you click on settings, a new menu appears with account options. Under the Account section, find the area labeled Parent Settings and select it. Choose the child’s account you want to manage from the next menu to proceed.
Step 4: Select a Service
On this page, you’re given the option to set your child up in two ways. For this guide, we’re using the YouTube and YouTube Music supervised experience. If you prefer YouTube Kids, you can jump ahead to that section. For general access, choose YouTube and YouTube Music and confirm the selection.
Step 5: Choose a Setting
Now, you can adjust the content your child views on YouTube. Currently, there are three settings with Explore, Explore More, and Most of YouTube. Explore is for children 9 and older while Explore More is for 13+ and the last option is geared toward teens.
When you select an option, you’ll get a brief rundown of what your child can view and some of the content filters YouTube will apply. You need to make a selection here but can alter your settings at any time as your needs change.
Step 6: Finalize Selections
After you settle on a parental control tier for your child, YouTube will walk you through a few more steps and offer a tour of what they provide. When you’re happy with your choices, click Finish Setup.
YouTube Parent Settings
Now that you’ve set up your child’s account with a viewing level, you can go in and make adjustments through the Parent settings section. It opens as soon as you finalize your settings, but you can also find this area through the settings menu of your YouTube account.
From the YouTube and YouTube Music Settings menu, you can remove access to the service altogether or set a different level of access for your child. If you want to give them more privileges or reduce them, click on Edit and make a new selection from the submenu.
Under General Settings, you can also toggle a variety of options. Parents can pause their child’s search and watch history to stop YouTube from recommending new content. There’s also an option to clear their watch history, unblock videos or review your child’s watch history on YouTube.
Other Ways to Restrict Content on YouTube
If your child uses your YouTube account to watch videos or you want to keep them engrossed in content designed for kids, there are two other methods you can try. Restricted Mode gives you a measure of control over what’s viewed on your account while YouTube Kids takes an entirely different approach.
You can access restricted mode from the YouTube web portal, a mobile app, or a smart TV. The setting is the same, although it’s found in slightly different locations depending on the device.
When using a web browser, you can access restricted mode by selecting your profile icon. From the drop-down menu, look for an option that says Restricted Mode and turn it on. As you can see from the screenshot, it’s not 100% foolproof, but will help prevent mature content from appearing on the platform.
On most smart TVs with a YouTube app, you’ll find the same setting under the settings menu but will need to take a few more steps from a mobile device. To find Restricted Mode in the YouTube app, tap on your profile icon and scroll down until you see Settings. Choose that, tap on General and you’ll see an option for restricted mode near the bottom of the page.
The last way we recommend as a means of setting up YouTube parental controls is YouTube Kids. Your children can access this site directly from their Supervised Google account or you can set it up yourself using these steps.
To set up YouTube Kids, choose the “Parent” option and verify your age. Choose an age range from the profile to help YouTube select appropriate videos. You can preview each option to get a better idea of what’s offered.
When you’re satisfied, choose Select to proceed to the search options. You can turn the ability for your child to search the platform off from here or provide them with full access to verified channels.
Once properly set up, you can get a quick overview of any videos your kids have watched by selecting their profile icon. Parents can also make multiple profiles for children in their homes through YouTube Kids. If you want to change settings or access at any time, click on the Lock icon at the top of the screen to access the settings menu.
Setting up parental controls on YouTube is the best way to keep your kids safe from unsavory content on the platform. It’s the first step to protecting them online and something you can adjust as their tastes and age change.
For a refresher of what you’ve just learnt check out the video below which walks you through each of these methods.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Magic Orb Studio/Shutterstock.com.