Should Kids Under 13 Be Allowed on YouTube? Pros Vs. Cons

Next to Google, YouTube is the most visited website in the world. It’s a platform where people from all walks of life come to express themselves or watch videos. In fact, for many parents, YouTube has overtaken traditional TV channels and even streaming services to entertain their children.

If you’re a parent whose child is starting to gain an interest in YouTube, you may wonder if your prepubescent child should be on the platform. This article will explain the pros and cons of doing this.

The Benefits of YouTube for Kids Under 13

While many have criticized YouTube for its effects on children over the years, there are benefits. Here are some of them.

They Have an App Specifically for Kids

If you have a child under 13, you can have them sign up for YouTube Kids. This version of YouTube has content that is deemed appropriate for children. The app has a variety of content, from shows meant for preschoolers to cartoons that older children will enjoy.

It Can Be a Valuable Learning Tool

One reason why YouTube can be good for kids is because it’s a great learning tool. Kids can find videos on various age-appropriate subjects, and some can cater to more niches than something like Sesame Street (also on YouTube.) If your child wants to learn about something, they can watch a video. YouTube can be an excellent tool if the presenter is engaging and the content is explained well.

Help Your Child Develop Their Interests

When you have a young child, they may not know what their interests are. YouTube provides a large number of videos catering to all sorts of interests. If your child likes a video, the algorithm will also recommend more videos or videos that cater to interests your child may like.

It’s Free

In an age where parents are on a budget, the YouTube Kids app is free to download and use. You can purchase YouTube Premium for an ad-free experience, and some videos are behind paywalls. But the free version will still provide hours of entertainment. Meanwhile, other streaming apps are getting more expensive by the year.

The Drawbacks of YouTube for Kids Under 13

While there are many benefits, there are also many drawbacks, some of which have been discussed numerous times.

The Potential for Inappropriate Content

As mentioned, YouTube Kids only shows videos deemed appropriate for children. However, many inappropriate videos slip past the cracks. This has been an issue for years. Often, the videos may depict characters your child is familiar with but in problematic or violent situations. A child may click on a video showing one of their favorite characters, thinking it’s official. However, what they see can end up scarring them for a while.

These YouTubers buy subscribers to boost their channel and then create inappropriate content.

While YouTube has cracked down on these videos, new ones are always coming up, with new ways to bypass AI moderation. This is one issue with an app with few entryways for making content. While it allows anyone to get their ideas out to the world, many bad actors use it for trolling.

It May Keep Your Kid in an Algorithmic Bubble

We mentioned that YouTube has an advanced algorithm that will recommend your child more videos similar to the ones they liked. However, this algorithm isn’t without its drawbacks. Your child is in their critical development years. When the algorithm only shows your child one hobby or point of view, it can significantly impact how a child sees the world. Algorithmic biases are already an issue for adults, and as kids grow up with increasingly powerful algorithms, some worry about the future.

Privacy Issues

YouTube Kids does have more privacy than regular YouTube. Your child’s name, address, or contact information must not be collected. However, there are still many privacy concerns. One example is YouTube Kids, which shows children ads based on their interests. This may not sit right with some parents.

Child Grooming

YouTube Kids is an app where you don’t have to worry about sexual predators as much as regular YouTube. For one thing, any video labeled for kids has their comments turned off. And most YouTubers they watch are generally safe. However, there are some YouTubers who are child groomers or at least have been caught having inappropriate interactions with children. If the YouTuber your child watches makes it easy to reach out to them, monitor any interactions your child may have with them.

It’s Addictive

Children addicted to YouTube aren’t new; past generations have worried about their children watching too much TV or playing too many video games. But with so many videos to watch and YouTube always recommending something new, children can spend hours on it. As a parent, you must step in. You may give your child up to an hour a day of watching content, and then they do something else.

So, is YouTube Appropriate for Your Child?

The answer depends on you, the parent. YouTube has many benefits, but there are several drawbacks as well. Luckily, the Kids app does provide ways for you to see their watch history, and if you find anything inappropriate for your child, you can delete it from their history and report the video.

It may also depend on the age of your child. A ten-year-old can navigate YouTube just fine, but if your child is four, you may want to give them a more curated experience.

If your child is on YouTube, remember that moderation is vital. You don’t want your child to be addicted to the platform. Have a time limit for how many videos your child will watch daily. Make sure your child is watching videos with educational content or with entertainment appropriate for their age.

As the parent, the power is in your hands. Don’t let the tablet and the tablet alone raise your child. We hope this article was helpful.


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