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7 Tips for YouTube Safety

Tech Savvy on The Mormon Channel recently did an episode about safety on YouTube and we wanted to give you a quick list of some of the highlights from that episode. We were lucky to have as a guest one of the industry experts on YouTube and he gave us all sorts of tips and tricks to keeping your kids safe-ish on YouTube.

The number one used search engine is Google (duh) and the number two search engine used is YouTube. When you Google something and you see that there is a video there teaching you how to do what you needed to know, where is it usually located? YouTube.

Here is a little information about YouTube:

  • Over 4 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube
  • In 2011, YouTube had more than 1 trillion views or around 140 views for every person on Earth
  • Over 800 million unique users visit YouTube each month
  • 3 hours of video is uploaded PER MINUTE to YouTube from mobile devices
  • YouTube is available on 350 million devices
  • 500 years of YouTube video are watched EVERY DAY on Facebook, and over 700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter EVERY MINUTE.
  • 100 million people take a social action on YouTube (likes, shares, comments, etc) every week
  • More than 50% of videos on YouTube have been rated or include comments from the community
  • Millions of videos are favorited every day
  • Clicks on the ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ button on YouTube have doubled since the start of 2011. For every ‘dislike,’ they get 10 ‘likes’- people like to tell other people about the stuff they love.

The question on everyone's mind now is HOW do we keep our families safe while on YouTube? Tech Savvy covers all of that in its latest episode and you can watch it over on the Mormon Channel

Below you will find 7 Tips for YouTube Safety :

1. Create a family g-mail account.

 This email account will be logged in on all home computers AT ALL TIMES. You can still toggle back and forth from various gmail accounts, but the family account should always be logged in. This gives you a lot more options in being able to help keep your kids safer when they surf the Internet. You can turn on Google's Safe Search as well as be able to see ALL the things that the kids are searching on the Internet... even if they delete your browser history.

We'll cover Google Safe Search and Web History in a later post.

MMB's Custom YouTube Channel

  2. Create a family YouTube Channel. 

You need a gmail account in order to create your Custom Family YouTube Channel. This allows you to go in and subscribe to specific YouTube channels. Why would you want to do that? I'm glad you asked. Creating a family YouTube page helps everyone to use their Integrity when they are on YouTube. The family page will log what videos are being viewed. It also allows you to set up the YouTube Safety Mode and subscribe to specific YouTube channels.

You can even get all jiggy with it and make it look just like your blog or add photos of your family. You can make it your own. Play with it and make it look any way you want it to look. 

Safety Mode viewing in YouTube

3.  Turn on YouTube Safety Mode

You can find this at the bottom of your YouTube screen. You have to be logged into your family gmail account and Custom YouTube channel in order for the safety mode to work on that account.

Turning on the Safety Mode gives users the option to choose not to see mature content that they may find find offensive. Those videos with mature content or that have been age restricted will not show up in your video searches when Safety Mode is enabled.

The Safety Mode actually works really well and I had a hard time getting some of the Mormon Messages to show up. So, I feel pretty confident turning it on and letting my kids use YouTube in an open area of the house.
Subscribe to specific channels and Pin those channels to your homepage.

4. Subscribe to Specific YouTube Channels

Why should you take the time to do this?Well, every time you or your child pulls up YouTube, if you aren't logged in to the family account, it's a crap shoot as to what will show up on that home page. However, if you have taken a few minutes to create a "family channel", then subscribed to your family favorites and then Pinned those subscriptions to your home page those channels will be the channels that show up on your YouTube homepage.

We subscribed to all of the official YouTube pages for the Mormon Church (along with Sesame Street and a couple of others) so that when my kids pull up YouTube, the first videos they see are wholesome and uplifting.

Viewing History

5.  Viewing  History. 

This allows you to see all the videos that have been watched while your family account has been turned on. This is a great way to help foster Integrityand opportunities to start conversations with your children.

For example: My kids were watching these stupid video series all the time. They weren't "bad", I just didn't like them. Every time I would notice them showing up in the history stream, we would have a discussion.

Having a family channel is also a good way to teach them that someone can always see what they are doing, and Heavenly Father ALWAYS sees what they are doing (It's a good way to teach Integrity).  Aunts , Uncles, cousins and friends can check out the family YouTube channel and see the types of videos being watched.

Liking and Sharing Videos

6. Like and Share the videos you find enjoyable.  

Comments are like crack. Once you start getting them, you just want more. Taking two seconds to like a video lets the video makers know that you appreciated the video, found it useful or just plain enjoyable. Taking it one step further and sharing that video via your blog, Facebook, Twitter or Google+ is contributing to the conversations that are happening.

The church has really encouraged us to join the conversations by sharing the amazing content that is avaliable on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or any other social media platform that you use. Some people are still VERY hesitant to share, particularly on Facebook because they don't want to offend their friends who are not Mormon.

 I have one rebuttal and then I'll zip my lips: You read blogs because you LIKE the blogger. You are friends with people on Facebook because you LIKE the people. When they share things with you that are important to them, typically we click over to see why they are sharing the information. If we're interested, we keep reading. If we're not, then we just exit out. We don't stop liking the person because they like (or believe) different things than we do-- we appreciate getting to know our friends a little better.

It will be the same with you when you share your Faith online with all of your friends and followers.You can CONFIDENTLY share your faith via YouTube videos. It's easy and people won't stop liking you. They just might like you more.

7. Report Negative Content. 

 I liked this analogy I heard recently in a seminar: When you see someone breaking the law, our duty as a responsible citizen is to call the police. So if someone is drunk driving or beating someone up on the side of the road, we call the police. We would all do that without hesitation.

It is our responsibility to be "good citizens" on the Internet as well and FLAG the inappropriate content that we find.

Flagging Inappropriate Content

Check out the above screen shots of what happens when you flag a video (and NO you will not be identified as the person who flagged the video).  You can see that once you click on the flag, a drop down menu appears and you can choose the reason why you are flagging the content. Maybe you just really hate Big Bird and he "Infringes on Your Rights". Click on that, and it will filter the flag to the appropriate team member at YouTube. They have employees working round the clock reviewing flagged videos.

It's so easy to be a responsible global community member, but most of us don't take the time to actually flag what we find objectionable.

It comes without saying that you should ALWAYS have a filter of some sort on your computer. All of these things we have discussed today will only ADD to the already existing Internet filter that you have on your computer. 

Lastly, Talk. Talk. Talk. All of these tools we have shown you were not meant to create a Gestapo like atmosphere in your home. That's not conducive to the Spirit nor is it inviting an open dialogue. These tools are just that-- Tools. And they open the door to facilitate honest conversations with our children. I know from experience that  the more you talk about whats appropriate and what isn't with your children the easier it gets and once they are teenagers, the door is wide open for not only discussions about Internet, but other things as well.

Next week we will run a post about Google Safe Search, Google Dashboard , Internet filters and Kid Safe Search.

What tips would you add about YouTube? 
Share them in the comments below.

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