App Guide


Name: YouTube

Owned By: Google LLC

Category: Photo and Video 

Operating System: IOS and Android 

Available for download: Yes

Desktop version: Yes

Approximate release date: 2005

Age Rating*: Rated 17+ for the following:

  • Frequent/Intense Mature/Suggestive Themes
  • Infrequent/Mild Alcohol, Tobacco, or Drug Use or References
  • Infrequent/Mild Sexual Content and Nudity
  • Infrequent/Mild Simulated Gambling
  • Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence
  • Infrequent/Mild Horror/Fear Themes
  • Infrequent/Mild Realistic Violence
  • Infrequent/Mild Profanity or Crude Humor
  • Infrequent/Mild Medical/Treatment Information

Brief Description*: See what the world is watching — from the hottest music videos to what’s popular in gaming, fashing, beauty, news, learning, and more. Subscribe to channels you love, create content of your own, share with friends, and watch on any device.

*Information from the App Store

  • Access to camera

    Users can access their camera through YouTube.

  • Access to contacts

    Users have the option to sync their Google contacts to their YouTube account.

  • Access to photo gallery

    Videos can be uploaded onto YouTube via photo gallery.

  • Accounts available for purchase online

    Sometimes YouTube accounts with loaded followers are available for purchase on eBay.

  • Anonymous posting

    All videos posted are attached to an account name.

  • Business accounts

    Many businesses use YouTube to promote their goods and services.

  • Clear history function

    Users can clear their search history.

  • Collects users information

    YouTube may collect data linked to your identity, including: purchases, location, contacts, search history, identifiers, diagnostics, financial information, contact information, user content, browsing history, usage data, and other data.

  • Connect with strangers

    Users can subscribe to YouTube channels of people they do not know.

  • Cyberbullying opportunities

    Similar to other social media platforms, cyberbullying is not likely but it's plausible.

  • Designed to be purposefully deceptive

    YouTube was not designed to keep videos hidden or private.

  • Direct messaging (private)

    Users cannot send direct messages on YouTube.

  • Disappearing messaging/images

    This is not a feature on YouTube.

  • Emoji search (search content with emojis)

    Users can search for content with emojis. Some emojis may have inappropriate/other meanings.

  • Group video and chat function

    This is not a feature on YouTube.

  • Hashtag use

    Similar to other social media platforms, many users use hashtags in their posts.

  • Hidden photo vault

    This is not a feature on YouTube.

  • Hidden web browser

    This is not a feature on YouTube.

  • Live streaming function

    Users can broadcast what they are doing in real time, and people can watch it live.

  • Location dependent services (muse use location for it to function)

    You do not need location services for the app to work.

  • Location services enabling

    Location services are enabled to protect your information.

  • Login with Facebook

    You cannot login to YouTube with Facebook credentials.

  • Marketing (sponsored content)

    Many companies and influencers use YouTube to market goods and services.

  • Offline functionality

    Youtube users can watch videos offline and watch it without internet connection.

  • Original content (shows, news, and movies)

    Youtube Premium has original content. Currently this subscription is $11.99 per month.

  • Password protected (beyond account password)

    There are no additional passwords beyond login credentials.

  • Privacy settings

    Users can publish their videos as public, private, or unlisted.

  • In-app purchases for sponsored content (unrelated to the app)

    Users can purchase goods and services from various companies by clicking on links embedded in video descriptions.

  • Reporting function

    Users can flag or report content they find inappropriate.

  • Screenshot and screen recording notification

    Users will not be notified if someone takes a screenshot or screen recording of their video or profile.  

  • Search function (content within the app)

    Users can search for specific content within the app.

  • Self-promotion (popularity or marketing)

    Many influencers use YouTube for self promotion and marketing purposes.

  • Upgradable

    Users can pay to upgrade to YouTube Premium.

Reviewed By: Ryan

YouTube can be a great place to learn how to do something, such as changing the oil in your car or building a treehouse, but there are many other things on YouTube that you most likely want to protect your child from viewing.

I’d recommend the YouTube Kids app for kids up to age 5 or 6. YouTube Kids has some good features. You can also set up parental controls

For older kids using the regular YouTube app or channel, you will want to turn on the Restricted Mode. This will help catch inappropriate content and filter it out. No filter can catch everything, so be aware of that. 

You must be signed into an account to view the “Age-Restricted” content. Since there is no way to verify age, you simply click on a warning that the content “may be inappropriate for some users.” A curious youth entering the world of puberty may turn to YouTube to learn more about their changing bodies and the bodies of the opposite sex. For an inquisitive child, a simple search for “nude woman” takes you to “Age-Restricted Videos.” A woman doing nude yoga and nude art are top results.

You can also watch “Naked News” as well; these are news reporters reporting the news naked.  A “nude man” search gives you “Age-Restricted Videos” with “male nude art classes” and “male nudity.” Searching specific male or female sexual body parts will give you medical procedures, anatomy lessons, and videos of piercing procedures. These do not violate YouTube’s terms on sexualized content. You can read more on the nudity policy here.

There are videos of individuals discussing their mental health struggles such as depression, anxiety, self-injury, eating disorders, and suicidal thoughts or attempts. As of this writing, most of these are designed to be inspirational and encouraging for others to get help. Discuss help seeking strategies with your youth, such as what do to if they would see someone posting about eating disorders, mental health issues, depression, self-harm, or suicide.

A quick search of “how to smoke weed” gets results on how to smoke weed in your room and not get caught. “Hotbox” and “dabbing” will also get drug related how-to videos. Kids are curious. When they start to hear about drugs, they are going to want information. It’s better for you as the parent to have prevention discussions before they are exposed to drug content from friends or through the internet.

Teach them to use the reporting functions built into YouTube and to keep an open line of communication with you as the parent. Teach them how to report videos with inappropriate content. 

Be aware of various ways to access YouTube.  YouTube can be accessed through an app on a device, the web browser on a device, smart blu ray players, smart TVs, video games, and other connected devices. Here is an example of how YouTube can be accessed through the Nintendo Switch. It may be more difficult to control content via one of these non-traditional ways to connect to YouTube.

My #1 recommendation: If you are going to let your child use YouTube, you should know how to work all of its functions first. Use some of the searches suggested above to see what’s available on YouTube, and then learn how to best restrict that content. Do all of this before your child begins using YouTube. If they have already been using YouTube, no fear. Just follow the same advice, and get more knowledge about YouTube. Ask general questions about what they like to watch and how they access YouTube. Watch YouTube with your child(ren). When something questionable is viewed, you can have a conversation about it.

My kids, who are in the pre-teen age,  were watching brother and sister YouTubers who are very popular; their video views are in the millions. In one video, the brother and sister gave the audience a tour of their house. They showed the audience where they kept everything in their bedrooms, the bathrooms, the kitchen, and other rooms in the house. They showed the audience where they kept their computers and electronic equipment in a cabinet in the living room. I stopped the video and asked my kids that, if I found the YouTubers address online, could I go to their house and take all of their stuff since they just showed millions of people where it was. My kids easily were able to identify that this video, while fun for them to watch, was not a very wise thing to publish. 

We don’t allow our children to watch YouTube on any devices. They can watch it with the “restricted mode” turned on,  on the TV in the main living room where we are able to monitor what they watch. We do not let our kids watch YouTube on devices where we are unable to see and hear what they are watching. The app rating for YouTube is 17+. I would recommend sticking with the app rating if you want to let your child use YouTube on a portable device.

Safety Tips

  • Manage privacy settings. It can be difficult to login to YouTube without being connected to a Google account attached to your child’s identity.
  • Upload videos as private to only allow certain users view their videos. 
  • Remind your children not to post personal information, such as drivers licenses, school IDs, state IDs, etc. They should not discuss where they live, their full names, their school, or places they frequent. 
  • Turn off location services when uploading videos. 
  • Know your youth’s account password.
  • Subscribe to your youth’s YouTube channel to monitor their content. 
  • Report cyberbullying or trolling behavior. 
  • Report inappropriate content
  • Remind your youth they can talk to you about any content they come across on YouTube. 
  • Watch the content they subscribe to. They may be watching concerning content, but there are also some good role models on YouTube. 
  • Stick with age restrictions— YouTube’s age restriction is 17 years old.

 Reviewed by: Justin S

YouTube is a platform where one can be engaged, informed, and simply entertained.  There are many uses for it, and can be a useful tool in everyday life.  However, with all things there comes flaws. There are a few videos I’ve come across that have been disturbing and is content no one should be attentive to.  As a parent, it is highly recommended for a young child to have restrictive settings in which they only see certain content tailored for them and reduces the likelihood of encountering inappropriate content.

There have been cases where mature content has floated around even with child settings enabled but it is very minimal, comparable to having unrestricted access.  In the case of a teenager, I personally feel most are mature enough to have unrestricted access.  Oftentimes, graphic videos are buried deep within YouTube and are usually not relevant unless made so nationally by the news and media outlets.

When it comes to navigating YouTube, Gmail accounts can be created and linked so a person can do things such as like videos, or even create a channel themselves.  The one major loophole is the age restriction videos and the relative ease of bypassing the system.  The recurring flaw is the ability to lie about one’s age and be granted access to unlimited content.  That is still a significant issue that has not been addressed.  Essentially, this is where the parents come into play, having the ultimate decision on how you want your child to utilize YouTube.  With all of that being said, YouTube is still a nice, complementary app that emphasizes being creative and inspiring others, while offering a variety of genres that will suit one’s taste.

About Justin 

Justin is a graduate of Chartiers Valley High School. Since 2016, Justin has hosted a YouTube channel about sports (Sports Productions). He will be attending college and majoring in Journalism, TV, and Radio.