25 Feb 2021: YouTube launches supervised accounts with parental controls tailored for teenagers
YouTube has rolled out Supervised accounts to help parents control the content their children can access on the platform. The feature is targeted at teenagers and fills the gap between YouTube Kids and unrestricted access.
It offers three levels of content restriction, besides supporting parental supervision.
YouTube plans to launch an early beta before rolling out the final version in the coming months.
Details: Supervised accounts feature three levels of content restriction
The new feature allows parents to choose from three levels of content restriction, namely Explore, Explore More, and Most of YouTube.
The Explore setting makes content suitable for children between 9 and 13 years of age. The Explore More option is geared for teenagers older than 13. Meanwhile, the Most of YouTube option holds back only age-restricted content and is suited for older teenagers.
Connected family: Parents can supervise their kids' activity, downloads, and usage habits
To use the new feature, parents must link their Google accounts with that of their children through Family Link. It allows parents to monitor their children's activities, approve or deny app download requests, and recommend the same to them.
Once set up, YouTube will prompt the parent to set the level of content restriction.
Parents can report content that they find unsuitable.
Distinct experience: Supervised accounts will be different from YouTube Kids, mainstream YouTube
The experience on a supervised account will be different from the YouTube Kids app. Options to create, comment, and make in-app purchases will be disabled. The experience will also be devoid of personalized and age-restricted advertisements.
YouTube is also planning to work with creators to develop content centered around themes such as bullying, harassment, and misinformation.
Guided process: YouTube will eventually add more features; Parents guide announced
YouTube says over time, it will add some of the restricted features otherwise found on the YouTube app. It says that self-expression and community are integral parts of YouTube, and are also important for teenagers.
No shortcuts: Apps and features aside, there's no replacement for good parenting
While we cannot discredit Google and YouTube for proactively improving support for parental supervision across its platforms, we believe kids these days are smarter and can find workarounds to access content potentially unsuitable for them.
In other words, no app or tool can substitute basic parental hygiene. This includes imparting a good upbringing and inculcating positive values in children.