Today a huge win for parents came in the form of an announcement from Google about some brand new parental controls for its YouTube application.
According to Google you are now able to set up Supervised YouTube accounts for your teens and tweens. Although, during this beta stage the option is only available for the Google Family supervised accounts that are under age 13.
For several years now, this age group has only been able to access YouTube Kids under their supervised accounts, so this opens up the standard YouTube app to them. With access to the main YouTube app, your children can explore a broader range of videos.
YouTube states that there are going to be three levels you can set for your tween.
Explore: For children ready to move on from YouTube Kids and explore content on YouTube, this setting will feature a broad range of videos generally suitable for viewers ages 9+, including vlogs, tutorials, gaming videos, music clips, news, educational content, and more.Explore More: With content generally suitable for viewers ages 13+, this setting will include an even larger set of videos, and also live streams in the same categories as “Explore.”Most of YouTube: This setting will contain almost all videos on YouTube, except for age-restricted content, and it includes sensitive topics that may only be appropriate for older teens.
I love that there are levels here so you can move your child up to fewer restrictions as they prove themselves in the more restrictive settings. By the time your child is ready to leave the house, they should be able to manage themselves on the app if you’ve held their hand in the beginning and loosened the reigns over time.
Additionally, YouTube will be disabling personalized ads, and ads altogether in specific categories for supervised accounts. The company will also disable access to the comments for the videos as well. We all know that the comments section is probably the worst part of the whole application for many videos. Disabling these will definitely help keep kids safe when browsing videos.
The company did state that they may be working on a way to enable limited versions of comment creation and viewing, but during the beta, it will be completely disabled.
One of my favorite features of this new ability is access to a watch and search history for supervised accounts. This has been a long-awaited feature for many parents. Monitoring the content your child is viewing is important to help you have conversations with them about what is considered appropriate for your family.
My main concern right off the bat is whether they will be able to prevent the child from logging out of their supervised account. I will test it out and write a post on exactly how it works and if this ability is disabled. I think it would be a very important component to add if it’s not already there.
I am thrilled Google is really trying to take this problem seriously, and I wish more applications would hop on board to help parents protect their children on their apps (I’m staring DIRECTLY AT YOU Instagram!)