Parents' Guide to

YouTube

By Conny Coon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Vast video site entertains, educates; iffy stuff abounds.

YouTube Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this website.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 330 parent reviews

age 8+

A once great platform for creativity, turned greedy corporate giant

1) Constant bombardment of random ads and No One bothers to check what they advertise. Porn ads on a cartoon video? sure why not. 2) Thousands of youtube channels who repeatedly beg their young audience to go buy something. 3) The website would rather promote music videos and political propaganda from official networks rather than wholesome creative videos. 4) And the worst recent change so far... Censorship of video rating. Want to know if the video you are watching is legitimate or good? Maybe it's a scam, maybe it's propaganda, maybe it entices violence and hate speech. Well too bad, you have no choice but to watch the video since YouTube disabled user rating via the Dislike button. 5) If you're a creator on the website you have to constantly deal with false copyright claims, bad algorithm and Police Bots that will falsely flag your videos.
age 18+

Explicit Porn. Can't trust "restricted" setting

Explicit content. I've only allowed my kids access when co-viewing because I've tested YT out myself over the years and found a long list of explicit porn when I did a simple search. I'm the only person who can access YT in my house, but the "restricted" setting always changes back to " not restricted" automatically. I've tried contacting YT, but to no resolve. YT has also allowed other recommended videos posted by nefarious users who are trying to lead viewers to other dangerous places. Even if one could trust the parental control to remain locked, there is just no way to be 100% sure your kids don't see something objectionable, so best to co-view until kids are high school age. Shame on Common Sense for listing YT.

Privacy Rating Warning

  • Personal information is not sold or rented to third parties.
  • Personal information is shared for third-party marketing.
  • Personalised advertising is displayed.
  • Data are collected by third-parties for their own purposes.
  • User's information is used to track and target advertisements on other third-party websites or services.
  • Data profiles are created and used for personalised advertisements.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (330 ):
Kids say (1435 ):

This video-sharing site has easily secured its place in pop culture, and is an incredibly mixed bag for kids. It offers so much to discover -- and love -- in its comprehensive video library: Information. Education. Instruction. Entertainment. Distraction. Delight. Want step-by-step guided instructions on making dozens of styles of friendship bracelets? Need to know how to create a unique Halloween costume? Want to show your kid what the robot from Lost in Space looked like or check out the Earth's solar system? You'll find that and much, much more here, including the latest viral videos of that kid or cat everyone's laughing about. The beauty of YouTube is being able to see so much in one place at any given time. But that also makes it difficult to know what your kids are finding and viewing when you're not supervising.

Yes, YouTube provides an endless source of useful information. But, as with other internet search engines, it's also rife with questionable content and inappropriate user comments that are easy for computer-savvy kids to find and view. This isn't likely to change, even with the newly created content-specific channels such as Gaming, Music, or Kids or with the paid, ad-free channel, YouTube Red. In addition, in fall 2016, YouTube debuted its Community feature for YouTube channel owners, which provides live video capabilities. Users are also able to text through the feature and share animated GIFs and images to connect with fans, who can sign up to receive notifications whenever hosts post something. What makes YouTube such an innovative site is its usefulness as a creative outlet for kids and adults alike. Homemade movies -- from silly to serious and everything in between -- are commonplace, and innovative video creations are easy to find. It's not only a place to experience and enjoy the creativity of others, but also a place to exercise your own. That said, due to the scope of what's posted -- and how easy it is to access it -- supervision is key. Check kids' Watch History, look at their subscriptions, check out the recommended videos, and use Restricted mode, or use YouTube Kids instead.

Website Details

  • Skills: Creativity : producing new content, Communication : multiple forms of expression, Tech Skills : digital creation, evaluating media messages, using and applying technology
  • Genre: Video Sites
  • Pricing structure: Paid, Free (YouTube Premium is an optional subscription ($11.99 per month) that offers ad-free and offline viewing.)
  • Last updated: October 20, 2021

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