YouTube to expand parental controls for tweens and teens

YouTube has announced expanded parental controls for tweens and teens. The next feature is aimed at those who may have exceeded the limits of YouTube Kids. YouTube will open a public beta for the supervised account feature in the coming months.

Through supervised Google accounts, parents will be able to choose between three content settings. When you are comfortable enough to allow your children to access a wider range of videos on the site than those of young children, you can enable the Explore setting. This will unlock a variety of videos that YouTube says will generally be suitable for children nine and older. They include vlogs, game clips, music videos, news, and educational content.

The Explore More environment is geared toward teens. It will include a larger group of videos, including live streams for the type of content that appears in the Explore settings. The Most of YouTube option is self explanatory. It blocks age-restricted videos, but otherwise will give older teens access to almost everything on the platform.

YouTube uses a combination of machine learning, user feedback, and human reviewers to determine which videos are enabled for which setting. He acknowledged that the system will not be perfect and some inappropriate videos will be overlooked, but it will evolve and improve the supervised experience over time.

Along with content settings, parents will be able to view their children’s search and watch history. They can still enable other restrictions through Google Family Link, including time limits. YouTube plans to add more controls, including the option to block certain videos.

Beyond content, the feature will limit tweens and teens accounts in other ways. YouTube will not serve you personalized ads or certain categories of ads, and in-app purchases will be disabled. Some comments and authoring features will be disabled, although YouTube plans to enable some of them “using an age-appropriate, parent-controlled approach.”

With the help of the National PTA, Parent Zone and Be Internet Awesome, YouTube created a guide to help parents determine the best way to supervise their children on the platform. It’s also partnering with creators to run a campaign that will see them discuss issues like misinformation, bullying, harassment, and digital well-being.

The service says it will continue to work on YouTube Kids, which it claims is a better option for younger children than supervised accounts, by expanding the features and tools available to parents. Among these will be the option to enable access to certain videos or channels.

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