YouTube (Rated 17+, Video streaming and sharing, social media)

App store description: “YouTube is a video-sharing service where users can watch, like, share, comment, and upload their videos. The video service can be accessed on PCs, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones.”

Potential Problems

YouTube is always in the top three most used apps by children. It is fair to say that parents have a love/hate relationship with this app. Excessive screen time is an issue with this app. Children spend a lot of time watching the never-ending stream of videos. Every video ends with a suggestion for another video and another video. What makes screen time regulation difficult is that many schools and teachers use it as a source for educational videos.

Many parents have learned the hard way that much of the YouTube content is not for young children. I often have parents reaching out to me for advice after their elementary-aged child is exposed to graphic content. A frequently asked question from parents is, what is the appropriate age for an unsupervised child on YouTube? You cannot effectively control what they can see unless you sit next to your child while watching YouTube. YouTube’s app description rates their app as appropriate for ages 17+. What is the right age for an unsupervised child on YouTube? The exact period you would let your child watch an R-rated movie. Everything they can see in an R-rated film they can see on YouTube.

Parental Controls

YouTube does have a kind of filter called restricted mode. My experience is that it is not 100%, but it should still be enabled.

Use with caution. Safe for children 13 to 15 with parental controls and supervision; for children 16+ with parental controls and occasional parental supervision. For children under 13, use the YouTube Kids App.

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About the Author

Clayton Cranford
Clayton Cranford is a retired Sergeant from Orange County Sheriff's Department in California and owner of Total Safety Solutions LLC. Clayton is one of the nation’s leading law enforcement educators on social media, child safety, and behavioral threat assessments. Clayton is the author of the definitive book on cyber safety for families, “Parenting in the Digital World.” Clayton has more than 20 years of teaching experience and was awarded the 2015 National Bullying Prevention Award from the School Safety Advocacy Council, and the 2015 American Legion Medal of Merit. Clayton was a member of the County's Behavioral Threat Assessment Team, Crisis Negotiation Team, School Resource Officer program, and Juvenile Bureau.