It can be surprising for parents that someone like Pewdie Pie has a net worth of millions of dollars, or that watching someone else play videogames is a billion dollar business thanks to streaming companies like Youtube. The types of videos that young children gravitate towards often surprise us, as the trends are constantly changing. To avoid any nasty shocks or surprises though -for you and your kids- it’s important to have adequate parental control in place.
Surely your kids won’t mistakenly find inappropriate content on websites like Youtube?
Sadly, this is not the case. A recent piece by Gizmodo’s Spanish website has highlighted the huge amount of videos on Youtube that parody kids’ cartoons. Series such as Peppa Pig and Dora the Explorer have been hijacked by comedians who give the show an adult theme that wouldn’t be appropriate for the original show’s target audiences. Judging by the thumbnails, some of these could easily be mistaken by a child for the real thing.
Even well intentioned amateur copies of shows that are still aimed at kids may not be great for the young ones. Remember that shows like Peppa Pig are specifically written and created with the help of child psychologists and pediatricians that understand the subtleties of how a child’s mind works.
Some of the adult-themed parodies have clear warnings at the beginning of the video, but this is not the case with all of them. What can we do though? Clearly blocking Youtube on our children’s devices is not a viable option, as so much of the content on there is great for the kids.
Youtube Restricted Mode
Youtube Restricted Mode, though not foolproof, is good place to start. When watching any video, scroll down to the bottom of the page where you’ll see several options like “language”, “content location”, “history” and “restricted mode”. After clicking on “restricted mode” simply press “on” and you’re good to go. Youtube itself warns that “no filter is 100% accurate, but it should help you avoid most inappropriate content.”
The Youtube Kids app also does a pretty good job of filtering out bad content for kids. Google, who own Youtube, have also been keen to stress that it is a signed-out experience. The app doesn’t collect any personal data. However, a watch history is kept to recommend shows for kids, a controversial issue that raises the possibility of targeted ads. Something we definitely don’t want for our three year olds.