Since my last post, I learned of a number of ways to help keep my child safe on social media like YouTube, and I would like to share those here.
The first step is a safety mode setting within YouTube itself, and a YouTube account is required to activate it.
While logged into your YouTube account, on the bottom left portion of the screen is a “Safety Off” button. Click it, select the “On” button (“Lock Safety Mode on this browser”), and click “Save.” Then log out of the account. This saves the safety mode setting for that browser on that computer. In order to turn the safety mode back off again, your child or anyone else would need the password to your YouTube account.
YouTube’s safety setting screens out the most blatantly offensive material that has been flagged by users or which has obviously kid-inappropriate tags like “sex,” “porn,” “violence,” etc. However, this is a very superficial screening mechanism and is likely to miss a lot, so it should only be considered a first step. Also, to make the most effective use of it, it needs to be done on every internet browser (Safari, Firefox, Chrome, etc.) on every computer to which the child has access.
Aside from the obvious hassles and limitations of this solution, there is another kink: my child also uses an iPad and occasionally gets ahold of my wife’s iPhone. I want a solution that will easily cover those as well, and more thoroughly that the protection offered by YouTube alone.
In my mind, the ideal solution is to install a kid-safe browser to handle all web traffic, not just YouTube. The two most recommended browsers that I found are Ranger Browser and Maxthon. Ranger browser screens out certain web sites, allows a parent to limit the amount of time that a child is on the internet, and also saves a browser history that parents can review. Maxthon allows you to simply create a list of acceptable web sites, and everything else is screened out.
Those are my discoveries so far. If I find more, I will post them! Please feel free to respond with your own tips and ideas. -RR