Kids love YouTube. But we also know that YouTube isn’t always appropriate for kids. (In fact, the service itself says that it’s designed for people 13 on up.) Google (which owns YouTube) already tried to address that issue with YouTube Kids, an app that’s supposed to bring a form of safe-internet viewing to young children. But what happens when your kids aren’t young anymore? What do you do when they’re over YouTube Kids and want to venture out onto YouTube themselves?
Well, YouTube has a proposed solution. In the coming months the service is going to release its latest parental control features to teens and tweens in beta testing. The goal? To allow kids to safely gain internet independence, step-by step, with parents supervising the process.
How Will They Do It?
There’s still a lot to learn here, but in order to use these new features, parents will need to create a supervised Google account, through which their kids can access YouTube. And, according to YouTube, these features will “change the videos [kids] can find and watch, features they can use, default settings, and ads protection.”
But What’s It Based Off Of?
YouTube tells us that it’s going to be based off of a child’s age range.
- Explore will be focused on kids ages 9 and up. It will allow kids in this range to watch YouTube’s curated selection of videos, tutorials, music, educational content and news.
- Explore More will be focused on content for kids ages 13 and up. Think of it as kind of like a PG-13 rated YouTube where the above features will be accessible, but the net is thrown wider, and the content gets a bit grittier (and potentially more problematic) for its older audience.
- Most of YouTube will be targeted toward kids around 18 years old and basically everything will be accessible, except for sensitive topics (which, at this point, is broad and vague) and age-restricted content.
Will It Work?
Here’s the thing: No internet filter or parental control will be completely foolproof, especially on a sprawling platform like YouTube. (More than 500 hours of video content is uploaded to YouTube every minute.) Even with YouTube Kids, videos still leak in that are inappropriate for young viewers. Why? Well, because these filters are machine-generated. They’re imperfect.
But any sort of filter that helps to protect the innocence of young children should be welcomed. Like I said above, these settings will be released in beta in the near future, and we here at Plugged In will take a closer look at these parental control features then. We’ll do what we can to keep you updated on what you need to know as this feature evolves.