Did you know about Kids YouTube? It's YouTube just for kids! Here's what YouTube has to say about their just-for-kids channel:
We created YouTube Kids to make it safer and simpler for kids to explore the world through online video – from their favorite shows and music to learning how to build a model volcano (or make slime ;-), and everything in between. There’s also a whole suite of parental controls, so you can tailor the experience to your family’s needs.
YouTube (the regular version) can be highly inappropriate for children. Check out this article by the BBC that talks about how easily kids are tricked into watching disturbing videos: "The Disturbing YouTube Videos that are Tricking Children."
CommonSenseMedia.org has some helpful suggestions for allowing kids to use YouTube safely: YouTube Parent Concerns
Check out this video, too:
Some kids are coming across disturbing videos by accident, and others are searching them on purpose. Curiosity can often get the best of kids. One click can lead to another, and they may turn around to find themselves on an inappropriate channel. Some children will exit out, but others will continue watching or exploring. This goes beyond YouTube and can apply to general online activity.
You'd be surprised at how many students tell me their parents do NOT know the things they do online, and they admit their parents wouldn't be too happy if they found out! Many also admit to having accidentally come across things online they know are inappropriate, but they stick around and check it out anyway.
You can help manage some of this by setting rules and guidelines and being aware of where your children are going online, by setting parental controls, and by simply just asking what they are doing/watching online. I'm often surprised at the websites or apps kids tell me they visit that I've never even heard of! Also be on the lookout for children who quickly turn off or hide screens from you. Kids these days know how to clear browser history and even bypass parent controls too!
All that being said, still be cautioned that even Kids YouTube should be monitored and parental controls should be set. There are some stories out there about Kids YouTube having inappropriate content that goes undetected by parents.
With the Internet in general, always be aware of what your children are doing online and teach them proper online etiquette by having regular conversations and doing good modeling.