Parents of tweens and teens, we’ve got good news! YouTube is launching new parental controls specifically for kids in this age group. What a relief to those of us who see the value in letting them watch some of the content on YouTube…but who are exhausted from trying to monitor all of it for our kids. Here’s what it’s going to look like and how it works.
First of all, if you aren’t familiar with YouTube Kids, that’s the option I recommend for preschool and early elementary-age kids. I use this app for my Kindergarten-age daughter (although her personal preference is much younger than most kids her age, I’d say). I’m able to seriously limit what she has access to, and it works well for her.
But for my 10-year-old and older kids, they want to watch content on actual YouTube. And as a parent, I think there’s a lot of value there: from the videos that are helping me homeschool my high schooler through Biology this year to makeup tutorials to just fun, entertaining videos that give them some time to unwind.
The new parental controls will make sure you stick to those videos…and not the darker side of YouTube. You’ll start by setting up your child’s access to YouTube through a “supervised Google account.” If your child already has a Google account, here’s how to add supervision to their existing account.
In your FamilyLink account, you’ll be able to choose from three levels of access for them on YouTube. The first level is called “Explore,” which gives them access to videos rated for ages 9+. The next level is “Explore More,” which gives them access to anything rated for kids ages 13+. The last level is called, “Most of YouTube,” and it gives them access to any videos that aren’t rated for mature audiences (ages 18+).
For all of these options, you’ll still be able to use screen time restrictions for YouTube through Family Link as well.
A combination of AI and user tagging of videos will provide these ratings, so there’s very likely going to be some inappropriate videos that sneak through before they’re flagged (remember the horrific Peppa Pig parodies that got past YouTube filters in the past?). If you keep really close tabs on what your kids watch, you may still want to use an independent parental-control filter on top of these settings.
YouTube hasn’t given us a specific date as to when these controls will launch, but they’re “coming soon.” We’ll be sure to keep you updated here as soon as they go live, too.