What’s the easiest way to keep your kid busy and entertained? For me, it’s giving them either a tablet or a phone and let them watch something child-friendly on YouTube Kids. Face it, our kids are glued to YouTube and to some extent, we are responsible for it.
The internet is eventually going to steal the innocence of our kids as they grow up but we, as parents, are speeding this process by giving them open and unattended access to YouTube. Even if it is YouTube kids, it is not as clean as we think it is. I was surprised to see the kind of creepy and violent clips that pop on YouTube and I questioned myself how could I overlook this? How did I leave my kids’ YouTube usage unmonitored? Kids are extremely smart these days; smarter than we think they are. They are good at searching stuff on the internet as well as using the smart devices.
I happened to come across a news article about how YouTube is tricking our kids to watch violent videos. It talked about a bizarre video of kids who cloned themselves as recognizable cartoon characters – Elsa, Batman, Spider-Man and the Hulk armed with automatic weapons. What’s surprising to me was that this Elsa shootout had over 5 million views. Maybe our kids have watched it already. The stuff that our kids see directly affects their mind. Videos likes these are simply encouraging our kids to be violent. From that day, I was extremely concerned about what my kids watch on YouTube and so should you.
Even if you enter the right keywords, inappropriate content will land right in front of your kid’s face. Before you make yourself believe that my kid is safe, you need to know how YouTube actually displays its content. The videos that show up in the search results of the YouTube Kids app are selected by an automated algorithm and there is no human review involved. Only the videos that are flagged are manually reviewed by YouTube and eventually removed from the app. The video service provider says that the parents who want their child to have a restricted experience should turn off the search feature in the app.
Of course, YouTube offers parental control measures but you cannot solely rely on them. Here, I have come up with ways we can monitor the usage of YouTube of our kids and make their entertainment a healthy one:
1. Set Up a Shared Google Account
With a shared Google account, you can keep a close eye on what kind of videos your kids are watching. If they upload any video using the shared account, that won’t go unnoticed. All the videos viewed from the account always show up in the history so you will be informed about all their YouTube activities.
2. Use a Monitoring App
Mobile phone tracking and monitoring apps come really handy in such a situation. I know many parents who are already using them to keep tabs on their kids. I got to know that these apps work on not just mobile phones but tablets and iPads too. I was also able to find a very useful mobile phone tracking and monitoring app named xnspy.com which I have already installed on the my boys iPads.
Xnspy lets you view the browsing history remotely, so I can see everything my kids watch on YouTube from a remote location even when I am not around them. Eventually, when they will be using smartphones, the same mobile phone tracking app would let me monitor their cell phone usage, which is why I thought it would be great to invest in this app. Furthermore, Xnspy lets you lock the tablet or phone remotely, see which apps have been installed and even block them. In short, it has all features that I, as a parent, would need to offer my kids a safe internet experience.
3. Turn on YouTube Safety Mode
The Safety Mode on YouTube automatically blocks most of the objectionable content. It is there on the homepage of YouTube Kids. Click ‘On’ and then click ‘Lock Safety Mode on this Browser’.
4. Watch with Them
Don’t just hand over the tablet or phone to your kid to watch the videos, join them and watch together. If your child doesn’t want to share or watch something with you, it’s ok. Just note the name of the channel they are watching and watch these videos later to make sure everything is age appropriate.
5. Subscribe to Their Favorite Channels
Your child would certainly have some favorite YouTube channels. Subscribe to all of them so that whenever a new video is uploaded, your child can watch it straight away instead of hunting around the world of YouTube. This will make it easier and faster to find the stuff they like.
Not everything about YouTube is bad. It is a great resource for entertainment as well as education. Help your kids discover the good stuff and if they are making videos, then get involved in what they are doing in the early stage. Maybe simply holding the camera would be enough to know what they are doing. Lastly, don’t just rely on a mobile phone tracking and monitoring app alone, do what you have to do to make sure their YouTube and internet usage is safe and beneficial.
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