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YouTube Kids Guide (2024): What Parents Need to Know

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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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YouTube Kids Guide (2024): What Parents Need to Know

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YouTube Kids is marketed as a safer and more secure alternative for younger children to watch YouTube videos, but many parents are wondering, "Is YouTube Kids safe?" In this guide to YouTube Kids parents will learn how the app differs from YouTube, how to determine if YouTube Kids is right for your family, and how to use the top parental controls features of the app.

YouTube Kids parent video

Is YouTube Kids right for your family?

  • YouTube Kids is a kids-targeted version of YouTube that offers limited content in an easy-to-navigate environment
  • YouTube Kids offers a few parental controls that YouTube doesn't offer including a parent passcode to lock the settings, a time limit feature, and age-appropriate advertisements that make it more attractive than YouTube for parents of younger children
  • Parents set an age-range for content for each child’s profile they create
  • YouTube Kids does not allow videos with paid product placements or endorsements or videos that are sensational, deceptive, or clickbait (Source: YouTube)

Top YouTube Kids concerns

YouTube Kids logo
  • Potential Inappropriate Videos - 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)
  • 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)
  • ~YouTube Premium membership 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 Social Media Agreement so that everyone understands the expectations and to help them develop healthy digital habits
  • Follow these recommended safety settings
  • Don’t rely solely on the filters. Parents must still closely monitor what kids of all ages are doing in the YouTube Kids app

Additional YouTube Kids information

  • “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 age (4 and under)
  • ~Younger (Ages 5-7)
  • ~Older (Ages 8-12)
  • Encourage your student to use YouTube in a positive way by watching educational videos and learning new skills
  • Subscribe to safe channels your children would like, so they get those videos recommended to watch next
  • Some parents say that their children are encountering disturbing videos (Source: ScaryMommy.com)
  • Report inappropriate videos and help YouTube manually review for inappropriate content
  • Read more about the new supervised experience for kids on YouTube
  • Visit our SmartSocial guide on Parental Control on Student Devices

What is YouTube Kids rated?

  • Apple App Rating: 4+
  • Google Play Rating: E (Everyone)
  • YouTube Kids app is available on iOS or Android devices or on a web browser at YouTubeKids.com

Important parental controls 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

How to set screen time limits

Image from YouTube Kids time limit setting

YouTube Kids offers a unique feature that YouTube does not, the Timer.  This screen time limit feature will lock the app when the time expires.  The time limit will have to be manually started each time it is being used.

  • Tap the lock button on the lower right and enter the parent passcode
  • 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

Conclusion

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

More resources for parents, students, & educators

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

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Superintendents, Directors and Principals: Request a partnership on this page to unlock our resources for your whole community.

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

Log in or join the VIP membership today to view all SmartSocial.com resources about YouTube!

Become a member or log in to learn more on this topic

Superintendents, Directors and Principals: Request a partnership on this page to unlock our resources for your whole community.
Quotation marks

This is great info, thanks for giving me some ideas on how to start a dialogue with my teen!

StarStarStarStarStar

Sharon M.

Parent VIP Member

Quotation marks

Josh's presentation about social media was unbelievably fantastic. Our students learned so much about what kids should and shouldn't be doing. The fact that it is such a thoughtful process made it all worthwhile.

StarStarStarStarStar

Director of College Advising

Educator Webinar Attendee

Quotation marks

This webinar is a very helpful eye-opener on the apps that are popular with my students.

StarStarStarStarStar

Irene C.

Educator Webinar Attendee

Learn more

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