YouTube Parental Controls: Supervised Accounts Are Here

Haley Zapal | March 10, 2021 | Internet Safety Tips Kids and Technology

**Update: As of April 7, the supervised accounts feature is live!**

If your kids have entered into the YouTube Goldilocks zone — old enough for a little more freedom and online responsibility, but still young enough to need your guidance and supervision —  we’ve got great news for you. Parents all across the world are rejoicing at the recent announcement of YouTube parental controls that can grow with your child as they become young adults. We’ll break down everything you need to know about this update, including how it came about, how it will work, and why it’s a fantastic step in the right direction for social media and families. 

New YouTube Parental Controls: Why They’re Doing It

In the blog post announcing these new features, YouTube expressed that “We’ve heard from parents and older children that tweens and teens have different needs, which weren’t being fully met by our products.” So, they set out to make their platform better.

Because striking the balance between freedom and protection isn’t easy, the company consulted with parents and online safety experts from around the globe. This new supervised experience will have new content settings and limited features, and there’ll be a mix of user input, machine learning, and human review to determine which videos will be shown to kids.

How Supervised YouTube Experiences Work

YouTube’s new supervision features bridge the gap between the YouTube Kids experience and total freedom. Parents can select from one of three modes depending on their family’s values and the child’s maturity level:

  • Explore
    • For kids 9 and older, this more-protected setting will feature vlogs, tutorials, gaming videos, music clips, news, educational content, and more
  • Explore More
    • For kids 13 and older, this looser setting will introduce an even larger set of videos, as well as live streams in the same categories as Explore
  • Most of YouTube
    • For more mature teens, this setting will allow almost all videos on YouTube, barring age-restricted content.

On top of these customizable content controls, families can manage their child’s search history to keep an eye on their online activity. YouTube also said that eventually families will also be introduced to more advanced controls like content blocking. 

Why This Update is So Important 

A lot of the technology and social media we use today was created by adults, for adults about a generation ago. People probably didn’t ever expect to be raising kids who would spend hours a week on the platform they used to watch funny videos on in their 20s. It’s similar to the Y2K bug issue in the late 90s — technology that was created without much foresight into how it would be used and affect people years down the line. 

By taking such progressive steps and giving parents the ability to have more say in how their kids use YouTube, the company is helping to pave the way for other social media and tech companies to create more avenues for families to be involved. At the end of the day, you know your child best, and these new YouTube parental controls will not only help you keep them safe online, they’ll also enable you to help your child grow and thrive as they learn how to incorporate healthy tech use into their lives. But like all parental controls, they’re not perfect — and definitely not a substitute for engaged involvement in your child’s life. Make sure you continue to talk regularly about online safety and age-appropriate content as your child grows up.

About Bark

Bark is a comprehensive online safety solution that empowers families to monitor content, manage screen time, and filter websites to help protect their kids online. Our mission is to give parents and guardians the tools they need to raise kids in the digital age.