YouTube Kids Guide (2023): What Parents Need to Know

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July 13, 2022

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Unlock this lesson to learn what you can do to keep kids safe on YouTube Kids

This YouTube Kids app guide will help parents learn:

  • Is YouTube Kids right for your family?
  • How is YouTube Kids different from YouTube?
  • Tips to keep students safe while using YouTube Kids

Learn why parents and educators should care about YouTube Kids

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Table of Contents

YouTube Kids is marketed as a safer and more secure alternative to YouTube for younger children, but what do parents need to know?  YouTube Kids offers parents a passcode to lock the settings, a time limit feature, and age-appropriate advertisements that make it more attractive to parents.

In this page you will find 1) how YouTube Kids differs from YouTube, 2) how to determine if YouTube Kids is right for your family, and  3) how to use the top features of YouTube Kids.

YouTube Kids parent video

What you'll learn in this video lesson

(Click on the three lines or a blue dot in video progress bar to skip to a chapter)

  1. Differences between YouTube and YouTube Kids
  2. Tips to have fun watching YouTube as a family
  3. Is YouTube Kids right for your family?
  4. Important parent settings
  5. How to set time limits in YouTube Kids

Is YouTube Kids right for your family?

  • If your kids are 1-12 years old, consider trying the YouTube Kids app to see if the content and settings are helpful for your family 
  • It’s available as YouTube Kids app on iOS or Android devices or on a web browser at
YouTube Kids logo
  • Apple App Rating: 4+
  • Google Play Rating: E (Everyone)
  • YouTube warns users that “not all videos have been manually reviewed” and regardless of the setting parents select, mature content could be seen (Source: YouTube)
  • YouTube Kids does not allow videos with paid product placements or endorsements or videos that are sensational, deceptive, or clickbait (Source: YouTube)
  • Parents set an age-range for content for each child’s profile they create
  • “Approve content yourself” is the default setting so the viewer  is able to watch only the videos, channels or collections the parents have approved (and they cannot search for videos)
  • The other age settings use YouTube algorithms to determine appropriate subjects:
  • ~Preschool (4 and under)
  • ~Younger (Ages 5-7)
  • ~Older (Ages 8-12)

Important YouTube Kids settings

Image from YouTube Kids parent settings

The “Parents only” passcode

The default “Parents only” code to make changes to a profile is a fairly simple math problem. We recommend saving your own unique passcode

  • Tap the lock symbol in the bottom right of the app
  • Tap the “Set My Own Passcode” and follow the directions on the screen 
  • Kids can have their own passcode too, which can be helpful if you have multiple kid accounts

YouTube Kids “Time Limit” feature

Image from YouTube Kids time limit setting

Older kids often don’t want to watch videos on YouTube Kids, but we recommend it when possible for the “Time Limit” feature this app offers that locks the app when the time expires

  • Tap the lock button on the lower right 
  • Tap “Timer”
  • Slide the bar to the time limit and tap “Start timer”: our recommendation is to take a break at least every 20 minutes 
  • When time is up, the video will stop and require the parent passcode to continue

Block videos or Channels in YouTube Kids

Image from YouTube Kids blocking content
  • While your student is watching a video, tap the 3 dots in the upper right corner of the video
  • Select either “Block this video only” or “Block entire channel”
  • Parents can unblock videos under the settings menu

Top YouTube Kids dangers for kids, tweens, and teens

  • Addiction - The YouTube algorithm is designed to keep users watching videos. It uses a user’s watch and search history, subscribed channels, country, time of day, and more to automatically select videos to play next
  • ~The “Auto Play” feature is turned off by default in YouTube Kids 
  • Advertisements - Companies pay to get their messages seen and advertisements are everywhere in free versions of YouTube and YouTube Kids
  • ~ “All paid ads must be in strict compliance with our advertising policies, are clearly marked as advertisements, and are only approved to be shown on YouTube Kids if they are family-friendly.” (Source: YouTube)
  • The Premium subscription is available for users who want to avoid all paid advertisements

What can parents & educators do?

  • Talk as a family to find out why your student wants to use YouTube and discuss the potential dangers so everyone understands
  • Talk with your students and use our Family Media Agreement so that everyone understands the expectations
  • Don’t rely solely on the filters. Parents must still closely monitor what kids of all ages are doing in the YouTube app
  • Encourage your student to use YouTube in a positive way by watching educational content and learning new skills
  • Subscribe to safe channels your children would like, so they get those videos recommended to watch next
  • Contribute to reporting videos and helping YouTube manually review for inappropriate content
  • Read more about the new supervised experience for kids on YouTube that is in beta testing
  • Visit our SmartSocial guide: Parental Control on Student Devices: What Parents & Educators Need to Know


Parents know that kids want to watch videos and YouTube is offering a safer alternative that gives them more control over the videos their kids can watch. 

More resources for parents, students, & educators

Navigating YouTube: What Parents, Educators, & Students Need to Know

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