YouTube is an amazing place to find interesting content. No matter what your taste is, there is a channel for you on YouTube. However, more often than not, we also came across plenty of NSFW videos on YouTube. With more than 300 hours of videos uploaded to YouTube every minute, there are all types of videos on the platform.
Broadly speaking, there are two kinds of NSFW video on YouTube.
1. Adult videos that fulfill in YouTube’s terms and condition, like childbirth, breastfeeding, or movies that feature nudity from an art perspective.
2. Videos that are illegally uploaded on YouTube, like – hate speech, public violence, beheading videos uploaded by a terrorist group etc.
Although there are no full proof methods to block adults videos on YouTube app or website, there are few things you can do make YouTube safe for your kids.
Parental Controls on the Official YouTube App
While we recommend using the YouTube kids app for better parental control; but if for some reason, you are stuck with the YouTube app, following are few settings you can tweak, to take care of all objectional videos uploaded on YouTube.
YouTube has this feature called restricted mode which automatically hides videos that may contain inappropriate content that is flagged by users and other signals. Although from my experience, it’s still far from perfect, however, if you have kids at your home, it’s important to turn it ON.
1. Turn on the Restricted Mode
Open the YouTube app on your Android or iPhone or iPad > tap on the three vertical dots on the upper right-hand corner. Next tap on Settings > select General > tap on Restricted Mode Filtering and toggle Strict.
One big problem with the restricted mode is, just like you turned it ON, anyone can turn it OFF by a simple press of the button. There is no Pin or password protection, to make sure kids don’t disable them knowing or unknowingly.
To disable restricted mode in the desktop version of YouTube, one has to enter your Google password to turn OFF this feature, no such option is available on YouTube app. Also, this restricted mode is powered by crowdsourced data and few contract based company who manually flag each video after watching them. And for a platform where 300 hours of videos are uploaded every minute, manually flagging each video is not effective.
2. Turn Off Auto Play
Turning off Autoplay will make no inappropriate content can slip past the algorithms. For example, a few years back, typing “Elsa and Anna” into YouTube’s search, suggest relevant videos. However, after clicking on a few top search results, the related videos next to it were far from being appropriate for kids.
To turn off the AutoPlay on YouTube web, simply click the blue autoplay button in the top right-hand corner, of YouTube player. However, on Android and iOS, the autoplay is hidden under the settings page. On the YouTube app, tap on your profile photo in the top right > choose Setting > select Autoplay > tap on Autoplay on Home and toggle Off.
3. Sign out of Your Google Account
This method will take care of all the legal yet NSFW video on YouTube.
If for some reason you have to stick with the YouTube official app, then it’s better to log out from your Google account.
The logic behind this is quite simple when a creator uploads an NSFW video that contains any form of nudity, bad words but is meant for educational use, they have to check to mark the 18+ age consent. And if you are not logged into your Google account, then even if your child accidentally taps on the video thumbnail, the clip won’t play, instead, it’ll ask them to sign in.
Parental Controls on YouTube Kids
One way to overcome the limitation of the restricted mode is to lock all the other apps and only use YouTube Kids app. This is a special version of YouTube that designed for kids and contain child-friendly videos from Sesame Street, National Geographic Kids and PBS Kids etc.
The app has several features that make it suitable for kids, such as the timer. You can set up a timer of say 30 minutes, before giving the phone to your child. Once the time runs out, the app will automatically lock itself.
The best thing about YouTube kids(Android | iOS) is the built-in parental controls options. For instance, parents can disable search on a child’s profile, which will only display handpicked videos by humans, instead of ones algorithmically picked up by AI.
You can also manually whitelist videos or channels that you want your kids to see by going to Settings > Child’s profile and select approved content only. Next start adding videos and channels for your kids
Parental on Phone
Finally, consider putting the parental control on the entire phone rather than the YouTube app. A parental control app lets you remotely manage screen time and monitor your child’s activity on their phone.
To get started, simply install Google Family Link app (Android, iOS) on your kid’s devices and the Family Link for parents app (Android, iOS) on your device that you’ll be managing the account. Follow the on-screen instructions to set up the app on your child’s account and yours.
Once everything is properly set up, you can set daily time limit to say one hour which means your kids can use the devices for one hour only. You can also block apps such as Play Store and Google Chrome. And best of all, check on their location, all done remotely from your Family Link for parents app.
So, these were a few ways on how to put parental controls on YouTube.
In the end, no app will work for you if you are not parenting properly. Every once in a while in the dinner table talk to your kids about what they are watching on YouTube. While you are at it, give them a few suggestions on what you watched in your childhood. Also remind them, if they come across any disturbing content on YouTube, they should talk to adults nearby.