Parents on YouTube

Originally published on Chelsea’s Blog.


1. Be Aware! Know the site.

  • Visit the site at, and familiarize yourself with its online content and community guidelines before viewing the site with your kids.
  • IMPORTANT: Keep in mind that your kids must be at least 13 years old in order to make their own YouTube accounts. Otherwise, you may create your own account or even a family account in order to view the site with the younger ones (at your discretion).
  • Visit YouTube’s Safety Center, and review the information. Note that the Help & Safety Tool may be used to report privacy or harassment violations.
  • Note that YouTube is a self-policing site and that no filter is 100%. You can help police bad content by “flagging” inappropriate videos or comments that violate community guidelines.
  • Delete harassing comments and block unwanted users; on that note, remind your kids to keep their own comments clean and respectful.
  • Create playlists of age-appropriate videos before you view the site with your kids so that you are aware of what they are watching. You may also create a list of favorite videos and subscribe to various user-channels.

2. Be Active! Talk to your kids.

  • Remind your kids that YouTube is a public site and to always be cautious when interacting with strangers online. Check-in with your kids, and have them inform you of their online activity, especially when strangers are involved (e.g., comments or video re-posts).
  • Speak to your kids about site concerns and the potential exposure to questionable content (i.e., be prepared to talk about inappropriate videos that may have been posted by other users).
  • Show your kids how to protect their identities online by talking about what kinds of information should be displayed in their profiles:
  • Never use real names when creating usernames.
  • Never display identifying information (e.g., home addresses, home phone numbers, or school names).
  • Never share passwords.
  • Never use identifying information in your “video tags” (search identifiers).
  • Help your kids post appropriate video content to the site:
  • Keep private home videos private and only viewable to close friends and family (i.e., never make public a private home video that contains images of your real home, school, license plate numbers, etc.).
  • Never allow your kids to post videos that could get them into trouble or hurt others.

3. Be Prepared! Always use Safety Mode.

  • Screen out potentially objectionable content by turning on the Safety Mode option at the bottom of the screen. When you are signed-in to your account, you will also have the option of “locking” Safety Mode on your preferred browser. Consider enabling and “locking” Safety Mode on all browsers used by your kids.

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