I know what Ben will not be doing this summer – watching YouTube.
This morning he asked me if a certain phrase was bad to say. I can’t even share it because it’s that bad. I was absolutely appalled. My first question was “where on earth did you learn that?!” My answer didn’t even have to come from him. I knew. We have trusted him with the iPad a little too much lately. And, while parental restrictions are checked on the YouTube app, I’m sure some inappropriate channels sneak through. He enjoys watching Stampy, which is channel all about a guy who plays with MineCraft. He is fine, although a tad silly, but nothing to be concerned about in terms of the child-friendly content and language. But, when he watches Stampy (or ThinkNoodle, another child-friendly Minecraft channel), YouTube suggests other shows that are “similar” and he clicks over without letting us know. Yes, I’ve created playlists of what he is allowed to watch but curiosity gets the best of him when we have our backs turned. YouTube is a scary place for a kid to wander around in. If you have any tips or suggestions on how to make YouTube a safe place for kids, please share.
Here are the tips I’m going to follow for now:
- Supervise – I haven’t been the best at this because I thought I knew what Ben was watching. From now on, I’ll be looking over his shoulder when YouTube is on.
- Restrict – This means two things. First, restrict the type of content that can be played. Here’s a video on how to do this. Second, restrict the amount of time he’s on it.
- Make playlists – I have gone through channels I know are kid-friendly and have created a playlist for Ben. He loves everything I’ve added and I let him know we can add more as we find out about them.
The Internet can be a scary place for kids (and parents). Placing limitations and being present can help tremendously. This will be a summer of limited screen time, that’s for sure!