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6 experts and 5 parents have answered

Ruth Arnold
Ruth Arnold Tech-loving parent blogger Sandbach, GB

YouTube is without doubt a fantastic resource, BUT I think it's also entirely unsuitable for kids to use unsupervised.

The "related videos" links can take a child from a completely harmless video to something entirely unsuitable far too quickly, and kids are not equipped to judge how suitable a video is before clicking on it.

Even with the parental controls switched on it's not foolproof (parental controls are dependent on users reporting videos as unsuitable, which means kids might still see stuff before its removed).

I only allow my kids to watch YouTube under direct supervision (they're 5 and 2)

9 Reply Share:
Experience 4 years ago
Anita Naik writer
Anita Naik Writer and mum of two London, UK

The sensible answer here has to be no, the more realistic answer is this is something many parents do. I myself am guilty as charged, letting my three-year-old loose to watch cars and trains on YouTube and giving my six-year-old access to everything from BBC Earth to My Little Pony.

Having said that, I’ve learnt the hard way that children are a few clicks away from inappropriate or adult content on YouTube. My six-year-old managed to access a gruesome zombie clip after spotting what looked like Ronald McDonald and my son a montage of nasty car crashes.

Which is why new research from antivirus experts Kaspersky Lab doesn’t surprise me. The research examined YouTube’s ‘suggested’ videos which sit visibly alongside clips or episodes of popular children’s television programmes and found that, on average, younger users are just three clicks away from content better suited to a more mature audience. Music videos featuring violence, guns and nudity, clips of post watershed television programmes and car crash compilations.

To be fair to YouTube, its terms of service does require users to be over the age of 13 to use the site. The fact that YouTube remains the second largest search engine, makes me think not many of us take note of this. At least YouTube acknowledge that the adult content on their site sits next to the entertaining and educational content.

The answer for parents using YouTube for educational and babysitting services (guilty again) is to first activate Parental Controls for YouTube Safe Search (found at the bottom of the YouTube home page). Then be realistic - as no filter is perfect we should probably only let kids’ watch YouTube under direct supervision. But what do you think?

6 Reply Share:
Experience 4 years ago
sarah ryman
sarah ryman Blogging 4 perfect family moment Brighton, GB

Came home to my 7 and 2 year old watching Horrid Henry on YouTube (Dad in kitchen) but they had stumbled up a dubbed version with FK, ST and many other very unsuitable words. I did a quick search (after banning them from it) on their favorite cartoons with the word swearing after it and there is loads of this stuff on their.

YOU TUBE is not suitable for children.

4 Reply ( 1 ) Share:
Fact 4 years ago
expert answer
Mark Dinsdale expert
Mark Dinsdale Schools ICT eSafety Advisor Merton, GB

Ruth Arnold:

"YouTube is without doubt a fantastic resource, BUT I think it's also entirely unsuitable for kids to use unsupervised."

I agree fully my 8-year old often looks at Annoying Orange but I wouldn't want him to see other stuff on there (sex-related). He did change his Kindle (we got him over Xmas) to sex so it went away for a couple of weeks.

3 Reply Share:
Fact 4 years ago
expert answer
Aidan Threadgold expert
Aidan Threadgold Director of Nous Education South East, UK
Software/app development expert

I agree with the comments posted, and don't think I can add much more regarding the videos on Youtube. Something that seems to have escaped peoples attention is the comments on Youtube, some of which are unbelievably horrendous (racist, sexist, homophobic and downright rude).

3 Reply Share:
Experience 4 years ago
expert answer
Terry Doherty expert
Terry Doherty Parent literacy expert US

So glad you brought up the comments @AidenThreadgold ... they are just outrageous. There is a teacher-run site that uses YouTube videos but strips out the ads and other slippery-slope elements that get kids unwittingly into trouble.

3 Reply ( 1 ) Share:
Opinion 4 years ago
expert answer
Lee Probert expert
Lee Probert Senior iOS Software Developer GB
Software/app development expert

Another issue is the ease at which they can watch pirated material. My daughter has discovered that she can watch My Little Pony on YouTube despite not being officially released over here in the UK. She also watches the foreign language versions (?); but more disturbingly she follows the recommended video links and I've found her watching some mash-up video that could have easily been inappropriate. She doesn't read the comment - thankfully!

2 Reply Share:
Experience 4 years ago
capturador de cosas
capturador de cosas father of two, programmer, geek VE

Thanks Anita, I'm going to try the "Parental Controls" feature and see if there is any

inappropriate content related to the videos that my 4 year old watches ().

A also recomend setting a HOSTS file in your computer. This source is very complete:

It filters 16.000+ sites of ads, porn and such.

2 Reply Share:
Experience 4 years ago
expert answer
Andy Powell expert
Andy Powell Internet Consultant Oldham, GB

Should you let your child free in the library? or the news agents? or watch the news?

There is content you would prefer your kids not to see everywhere, better to teach your kids, there is silly things on the internet that are not really suitable for kids and move on than deny access which will only increase curiosity.

Would you rather your child saw something inappropriate on youtube and had the confidence to speak to you about it or that they watched in secret on a mobile phone in the street?

1 Reply ( 3 ) Share:
Opinion 4 years ago
Hongqi Wang
Hongqi Wang Builder of Seattle, Washington

I am late to the discussion. But I am glad I finally come to this place. I've read some great discussions and want to comment this one because I've been working in this area for a while. I am trying to make parents' and kids' life better with my solution - even I can't solve all the problems.

Here are some points:

  • kids should not watch videos without guidance.
  • parents should not keep kids away from videos just because there are inappropriate videos.
  • watching appropriate videos are good to kids.

YouTube has the most wonderful resources on the web. But as many people pointed out, YouTube 'related videos' feature is very dangerous. I totally agree on that. Also the comments, the likes/dislikes. Kids should just watch videos in a clean/safe place, without those negative things. This is why I built aims to provide a much safer place for kids to watch videos. The idea and steps are simple:

  • Parents create accounts for kids and build video library by searching YouTube playlists and videos.
  • And then parents can share playlists with kids.
  • Kids sign in with their own account and watch what parents have shared with them, no more no less.

The site is ready and iOS app is on the way. I hope you like it. Welcome any suggestions/comments.

Some examples:

P.S. YouTube ads can't be suppressed as I need to respect YouTube's terms and service.

1 Reply Share:
Opinion 3 years ago
expert answer
Leonie Smith expert
Leonie Smith Cyber safety consultant AU
E-safety expert

Is this a trick question? The YouTube Terms Of Service forbid use by under 13yr old's and without enabling the safe search option on YouTube, even a 13yr old would be over exposed to very adult content. Whilst they do take porn down, the things they allow are only a G string away. Do a search on YouTube for "Twerking" And if you know what that means....imagine twerking in a "thong" not for the faint hearted....and "Twerking" is probably one of the most searched for terms for, thats a no from me!

1 Reply Share:
Fact 3 years ago

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