Peppa Pig drinking bleach. Anna from Frozen shooting a group of other Disney Princesses. Spiderman peeing on other Marvel super heroes. No, these aren't scenes from the latest horror movie, they're excepts from online videos that are seemingly geared towards kids. It's enough to make any parent want to throw digital devices right out the window, literally. But there are things you can do to safeguard your children's viewing choices. Here's how to disable search on YouTube Kids because the internet is a scary place.
Why the sudden worry over supposedly safe content? Parents have reason to be concerned. Just this week, a mom blogger let her child watch a seemingly innocent video about the Nintendo game, Splatoon, only to find spliced in instructions about self-harm, embedded four minutes into the video.
Also in recent days, the so-called "Momo Challenge" has resurfaced. A scary woman with stringy black hair and bulging eyes reportedly pops up in videos, encouraging kids to do things that could potentially harm themselves or others and even commit suicide, according to Mashable. Now she's seemingly as popular as Slenderman, who, the New York Times noted, is another digitally-created urban legend.
So, yes, shutting down the search function on YouTube Kids might be a good idea right about now.
To disable searching, CNET suggests the following steps:
- Click on the lock icon in the lower right of the screen.
- Enter the passcode. It should be a series of numbers, written as words. If your child can read, you'll want to set up a custom password that only the adults in your household know.
- Tap settings and click on your child's profile. If you haven't set up profiles for your children, do so. It's a good way to be sure everyone is viewing responsibly.
- Once in your child's profile, switch search off.
While this is a pretty effective safety precaution, there are others parents can take.
You can block disturbing videos, so they never resurface again in your child's feed. If you block a video, you should also report it so that the YouTube Kids' team can investigate and remove it, according to CNET.
If you still feel uneasy, choose the "approved content only" settings, according to TechCrunch. Parents choose which videos and channels their kids watch, and nothing else. If it's not approved, they can't see it.
There are many other videos that have come under fire in recent weeks, featuring some of kids' favorite characters involved in unwholesome activities. These kinds of things sometimes slip through YouTube Kids' filters, even when it's supposed to be a censored, and supposedly safe version, of the video hosting site.
The best defense against harmful content is to disable the search function on YouTube Kids.
Kids will continue to beg and plead to play video games or watch shows on any screen available. But, it's up to parents to ensure they are safe. Keeping up to date with all safety precautions recommended by technologically savvy experts can help you do so.