Social networks, apps and games
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YouTube

YouTube lets you watch, create and comment on videos. You can create your own YouTube account, create a music playlist, and even create your own channel, which means you’ll have a public profile. YouTube allows live streaming.

13+

Official age rating

13+

Net Aware age recommendation

Kids use this to...

Play

Create

Learn

Connect

Watch

Our safety ratings

Overall safety rating:

Our overall rating for YouTube

Average

YouTube has a ‘Restricted Mode’ that helps to block out inappropriate content. We couldn’t find any information on how YouTube filters videos and even with this mode on your child could still come across something upsetting or that you don’t want them to see.

Safety features

YouTube has a Child Safety page which gives parents and carers more information on what they’re doing to try and keep kids safe on the site.

You can enable ‘Restricted Mode’ on an account to help block out content kids might find upsetting. Some of the content on YouTube is age-restricted and can’t be watched by anyone below the age of 18. Parents of younger children might want to explore YouTube Kids

Privacy & location

You can make your YouTube account private meaning only people you invite to follow your channel can view your videos.

You can only receive private messages on YouTube if you set up a Business Enquiry Email but you can still talk to other people in the comments section underneath a video.

YouTube doesn’t share your exact location but will share the country you are in and this cannot be switched off.

Reporting & blocking

You can report videos on the site by selecting the three dots on the bottom right hand corner of the video and choosing ‘Report’. On the app you have to hover over the video you want to report for the three dots to appear.

There is information about Reporting Inappropriate Content on the YouTube site and you can also block people from commenting on your videos.

Content

YouTube does try to filter out inappropriate content with its ‘Restricted Mode’. However, there’s still a chance your child might see something that upsets them.

While exploring the app we came across videos that contained sexual and violent imagery. We also saw messages in the comment sections of the videos that contained negative and inappropriate language.

Top tips for staying safe

Sitting down with your child and exploring their favourite app or game is a great way for you to learn more about what they like to do online.

You can ask them why they like to use an app or play certain games, as well as who they’re talking to and what sorts of things they’re sharing.

You can also read our Net Aware reviews for tips on how to keep kids safe on popular apps, sites and games.

Take the time to explore YouTube’s safety information for parents. and think about which features are right for your child.

We would recommend switching on Restricted Mode and disabling the ‘autoplay’ feature to stop videos playing automatically after one has ended.

Make sure you revisit these settings regularly to see if anything has changed.

Some children might want to create and share their own videos on YouTube.

If you decide that it’s ok for them to do this, help them think about what they’re sharing in them and who can see them. You should set up the account together and set it to private so only their friends can watch them and disable comments.

You should also remind them that they shouldn’t share private things, such as:

• personal information, like names, other social media accounts, their school or location phone numbers
• other people's personal information
• links to join private group chats
• photos of themselves
• photos of their body, such as sexual photos or videos

 

Your child might see something upsetting or worrying on YouTube. If this happens, they might want to report videos or comments. 

YouTube has specific guidance on how to report inappropriate content.

Remember to let your child know that they can always talk to you about things they see online

Explain that you understand the internet is a great place to play, create, learn and connect. But remind them they can talk to you if anything upsets or worries them.

Reassure them that you won’t overreact – you’re just looking out for them.

It’s important to remind your child that they can talk you, another adult they trust, like a teacher, or Childline about anything they see online.

O2 Guru top tip

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On YouTube parental controls

With your child, explore Restricted Mode which will help filter out more adult content.

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Talking to your child

Having open, regular conversations with your child will help you to really understand and explore the online world together. Our tips and advice can help you start these conversations.

Talk about staying safe online

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