Why YouTube Kids May Not Be As Safe As You Think

YouTube Kids is often seen as a child-friendly offshoot of YouTube, designed to provide a safe viewing space for children. However, as a long-time content creator and a parent, I feel compelled to warn other parents: YouTube Kids is not as safe as you might think, and it certainly isn’t Netflix Kids.a kid watching youtube kids videos

The Illusion of Safety

Many parents might assume that YouTube Kids functions like Netflix Kids, where content is strictly curated and controlled. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. The main form of “quality control” on YouTube Kids involves reactive measures—only investigating content after it’s been reported by viewers. This means inappropriate material could be seen by numerous children before it’s ever flagged.

Creating content for YouTube Kids is alarmingly simple. I discovered this by accident; it’s as easy as checking a single box when uploading a video. The platform’s so-called “protection” involves merely disabling comments and limiting certain types of advertisements. This minimal oversight is a far cry from a robust content verification system.

A Cautionary Tale

My experience in the gaming content world for over a decade has shown me the darker sides of fame and audience interaction. Sadly, some YouTube creators have exploited their positions, targeting their young viewers for personal gain. High-profile cases involving popular YouTubers like Miranda Sings, Ryan from Rooster Teeth, Shane Dawson, and Onision illustrate just how quickly influencers can fall from grace, leaving families and fans in disbelief and distress.

The Risks of Engagement

The allure of YouTube fame can be intoxicating, and unfortunately, some creators take advantage of their young audience’s devotion. Inviting YouTube celebrities to personal events like children’s birthday parties might seem like a fun idea, but it’s a risk that exposes children to potential harm. The platform itself has been used by convicted offenders, who confessed to using seemingly innocent videos, such as those featuring children performing gymnastics, to begin their criminal activities.

Alternatives and Safety Measures

Given these concerns, I strongly advise parents to supervise their children’s media consumption closely. Platforms like YouTube, with its autoplay feature and algorithmic selection, can lead to endless, unsupervised viewing of potentially harmful content.

As an alternative, consider more controlled environments for children’s viewing. For example, I use a Plex server connected to a Roku device. This setup allows us to curate and control exactly what content is available, ensuring that my child only watches shows and movies we have explicitly approved.


While YouTube offers a vast universe of content, not all of it is suitable for children, and the platform’s safety measures are far from foolproof. As parents, our primary concern should be the safety and well-being of our children, which sometimes means finding alternatives to popular media platforms like YouTube Kids. Remember, the best filter is an active, engaged, and vigilant parent.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: Is YouTube Kids really unsafe for children? A: YouTube Kids is designed to be safer than the main YouTube platform, but it’s not infallible. The content is supposed to be kid-friendly, yet inappropriate videos can slip through because YouTube only reviews content that is reported. This reactive approach doesn’t guarantee that all content is appropriate for children.

Q2: How can I make YouTube safer for my child? A: You can enhance safety by using YouTube’s parental control features, like setting up a supervised Google account for your child, which gives you options to restrict what they can watch. Additionally, actively monitoring what your child views and discussing internet safety with them can help mitigate risks.

Q3: Are there safer alternatives to YouTube for kids? A: Yes, platforms like Netflix Kids offer a more controlled environment where content is specifically curated for children. Services like PBS Kids and educational apps also provide safe, child-friendly content. Using a Plex server, as mentioned, lets parents completely control the media their children access.

Q4: What should I do if my child sees inappropriate content on YouTube Kids? A: If your child encounters inappropriate content, report the video immediately through YouTube’s reporting tools. Discuss the content with your child to understand their feelings and clarify any confusion. Reinforce awareness about internet safety.

Q5: How effective are YouTube’s reporting and content review processes? A: YouTube relies heavily on user reports to flag inappropriate content, which is then reviewed by human moderators or AI. This process isn’t perfect, as harmful content can be viewed many times before being removed. Continuous improvements are made, but the system still has limitations.

Q6: Can I block certain channels or videos on YouTube Kids? A: Yes, YouTube Kids allows parents to block videos or channels they find inappropriate. Once blocked, those videos won’t appear again in your child’s feed, giving parents some degree of control over what their children can watch.

Q7: How do I talk to my child about internet safety? A: Be open and honest with your child about the risks associated with internet use. Teach them about personal privacy, the importance of not sharing personal information, and what content is appropriate. Make sure they feel comfortable coming to you if they encounter something questionable online.

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