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
Users can access their camera through YouTube.Access to camera
Users have the option to sync their Google contacts to their YouTube account.Access to contacts
Videos can be uploaded onto YouTube via photo gallery.Access to photo gallery
Sometimes YouTube accounts with loaded followers are available for purchase on eBay.Accounts available for purchase online
All videos posted are attached to an account name.Anonymous posting
Many businesses use YouTube to promote their goods and services.Business accounts
Users can clear their search history.Clear history function
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.Collects users information
Users can subscribe to YouTube channels of people they do not know.Connect with strangers
Similar to other social media platforms, cyberbullying is not likely but it's plausible.Cyberbullying opportunities
YouTube was not designed to keep videos hidden or private.Designed to be purposefully deceptive
Users cannot send direct messages on YouTube.Direct messaging (private)
This is not a feature on YouTube.Disappearing messaging/images
Users can search for content with emojis. Some emojis may have inappropriate/other meanings.Emoji search (search content with emojis)
This is not a feature on YouTube.Group video and chat function
Similar to other social media platforms, many users use hashtags in their posts.Hashtag use
This is not a feature on YouTube.Hidden photo vault
This is not a feature on YouTube.Hidden web browser
Users can broadcast what they are doing in real time, and people can watch it live.Live streaming function
You do not need location services for the app to work.Location dependent services (muse use location for it to function)
Location services are enabled to protect your information.Location services enabling
You cannot login to YouTube with Facebook credentials.Login with Facebook
Many companies and influencers use YouTube to market goods and services.Marketing (sponsored content)
Youtube users can watch videos offline and watch it without internet connection.Offline functionality
Youtube Premium has original content. Currently this subscription is $11.99 per month.Original content (shows, news, and movies)
There are no additional passwords beyond login credentials.Password protected (beyond account password)
Users can publish their videos as public, private, or unlisted.Privacy settings
Users can purchase goods and services from various companies by clicking on links embedded in video descriptions.In-app purchases for sponsored content (unrelated to the app)
Users can flag or report content they find inappropriate.Reporting function
Users will not be notified if someone takes a screenshot or screen recording of their video or profile.Screenshot and screen recording notification
Users can search for specific content within the app.Search function (content within the app)
Many influencers use YouTube for self promotion and marketing purposes.Self-promotion (popularity or marketing)
Users can pay to upgrade to YouTube Premium.Upgradable
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.
- 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.
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.