- YouTube Kids
Watch selected family-friendly videos from YouTube. Great for younger children, especially those aged five and under. It's free, and available for iOS and Android.
Andrew has two boys, aged four and one. Sarah has three kids, aged five, seven and ten. Read what they've got to say about their experience with YouTube and YouTube Kids.
- Read about Andrew's experience with YouTube kids
"We only have YouTube Kids installed on our iPad – not the full YouTube app. Unlike the full version, which requires constant monitoring, I feel I can give our eldest more freedom to explore. "I've set it up so there’s nothing scary. You can choose various categories, channels and filters.
"I feel confident leaving him on YouTube Kids by himself, but I still like to watch together as much as possible. He likes to show us what he's been up to.
"We sometimes let him watch Transformers instructional videos on the full version of YouTube. But we always sit with him, and use Restricted mode.
"I haven't used the timer on YouTube Kids, but we;ll say he can watch videos for, say, five minutes. He sets the stopwatch on the device. It's a bit of fun, and he always turns it off when the time's up."
- Read about Sarah's experience with YouTube
"My children watch YouTube videos on the family laptop, where we have parental controls and content filters set up. But I'm never more than a few seconds away. They can watch Minecraft and Terraria tutorials on their own, but they have to ask each time they want to watch another one.
"We chat about what they're doing online and set boundaries – they're only allowed electrics on a Wednesday afternoon and during the weekend, when I'm around to monitor them, and they can't take any devices upstairs. They're aware they can't watch anything with bad language and they know what's inappropriate – I can tell by their faces if they're unsure they should be watching something.
"I understand some videos on YouTube don't have age ratings, so it's a worry that these could slip through the net.
"I hadn't heard of YouTube Kids before, but I like the idea a lot. It'd be a huge relief if they could explore more on their own. Freedom is important. I'd still monitor the time they spent watching, though – it does have an effect on them."
- YouTube for different ages
Children develop at different rates, so use the advice below as a rough guide. Some tips are useful for more than one age range.
- Age 4 and under
Children of this age should always be supervised online, whatever they're watching. Make things fun. Watch cartoons and kids' shows together – YouTube Kids has loads. Set up safety controls on any device or app you use with them.
- Age 5-7
YouTube Kids is full of fun shows but remember, content is filtered by computers, not humans, so keep an eye out. Subscribe to channels together, it's a safer way of discovering things than through search.
- Age 8-11
They'll be wanting to move on to the full version of YouTube, but they must be 13 to have an account. Log in as you in Restricted mode and explore channels together. Disable comments so they don't read anything nasty from others.
- Age 12-15
Even teenagers need reassurance that they can talk to you if they see something upsetting. Set boundaries, ensure they subscribe as an under 18 and talk about what they watch and which video bloggers or vloggers they follow. Make it part of everyday family chat. Speak to them about what they've been doing in the game and who they've been talking to – just as you would in real life.
- Age 16+
Young adults need freedom to explore online, and they may watch videos through a number of sites. Talk to them about setting a good example if they do any vlogging themselves – particularly if they have younger siblings.