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Turn this feature off to help keep your kids safe on YouTube

Kids are some of the biggest YouTube viewers. Here are some tips to keep them safe including the one feature you should turn off.

Chances are, your kids are watching videos on YouTube. There is a ton of great programming, but there are also some pitfalls parents should be aware of.

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We talked to Kevin Grosch, CEO of Made In Network. They are a company that creates YouTube content for personalities and brands like Binging with Babish, CinemaSins, Marty’s Music, and Parade Magazine.

Kevin Grosch, CEO of Made In Network

Kevin Grosch, CEO of Made In Network

Here are Kevin's tips for keeping kids safe on YouTube and the one feature you should turn off.

  1. Curate what your children watch. Kevin says YouTube is an amazing catalog of stuff to watch but it can be both good and bad. One way to ensure your kids are watching the good stuff is to let them view content from channels you trust. The second way is to create a playlist in advance. Add a bunch of videos that you've pre-screened to the playlist, then when you hand over your phone you don't need to worry about searching for something for them to watch on the fly.
  2. The YouTube Kids app isn's perfect. The YouTube Kids app is good since it has a lot of kid-friendly features, but parents still need to tweak a few settings. It might be a good idea to disable search and set time limits on viewing. Also, keep in mind that although YouTube Kids does employ some human hands in curating videos, much of the work is done by algorithms, so inappropriate stuff can still slip through the cracks.
  3. Beware of a phenomenon known as YouTube Poop. These are videos that start out looking innocent but take an objectionable turn. They can surprise your kids with obscenities, scary images and adult plot lines. Your best defense is to watch a video all the way through.
  4. Turn off AutoPlay. This is a good defense against YouTube's algorithms serving up an inappropriate video when your child is finished watching one. Keep in mind that video producers can game the system and trick YouTube's algorithm into showing their video next, even if it's not completely relevant or safe. Also, AutoPlay doesn't always play a video from the same channel you're watching.

You can disable Autoplay in the YouTube app by going into Settings > Autoplay. On a desktop computer, go to YouTube and start watching a video. Then, look for the Autoplay toggle switch in the upper right-hand corner of your screen, near the Up Next list of videos.

NOW LISTEN: Here's an extended interview with Kevin Grosch with more tips on keeping kids safe on YouTube, including watching what they upload to the site. From the Rich on Tech Podcast.