Staying safe and private on YouTube is important. In this guide we’ll show you how to stay secure on the platform and how to protect your privacy. We’ll also offer some tips for keeping kids safe on YouTube.
No — you will struggle to stay private while using YouTube, as the site records and stores a lot of data about its users.
YouTube is owned by Google, a famously data-hungry company, so if you’re concerned about privacy, you may wish to avoid this website. There are steps you can take to protect your privacy, however.
For example, you can use a VPN to change your IP address. Like all websites, YouTube views your IP address when you connect to it, and this information can be used to track you and acquire location data. When you turn on a VPN, your IP address is hidden, so YouTube will not be able to gather that specific information about you.
You can also use YouTube without setting up an account, which limits how much personal information you give the site. Privacy isn’t the only thing you should think about, however — before using YouTube, you should also consider how safe it is.
YouTube is a relatively safe platform and comes with some useful safety tools. However, the degree to which the site can be considered safe depends on how you use it.
Unsafe or inappropriate content on YouTube is either removed or placed behind age restrictions, ensuring that young people — and people without YouTube accounts — cannot access it. Some inappropriate videos do slip through the screening system, however, so users should remain vigilant.
Beyond inappropriate content, you can also encounter cybersecurity risks on YouTube. The site allows users to include links in their comments, a feature that lends itself well to phishing. It’s not unusual to see malicious commenters trying to convince other users to follow unsafe links.
You may also be exposed to malicious ads that will try to convince you to click a button or follow a link. If you do, you could end up downloading malware or leaking private information by accident. To avoid these threats, follow the tips below for staying safe on YouTube.
To stay safe on YouTube, follow these tips.
You may have heard of YouTube Kids. This is a version of the site on which certain functions are removed, and age-restricted content cannot be found.
YouTube Kids can be downloaded as an app, and is also available on browsers. It needs to be set up by an adult but it’s intended for use by children and is meant to keep kids safe online.
YouTube kids is certainly safer than the regular version of YouTube, but it’s far from perfect.
For one thing, it’s not hard for children to quickly alter the settings on a YouTube Kids account — to access the settings, they just need to solve a simple math puzzle. This means a child could potentially change what content they have access to without a parent’s knowledge.
Then there’s the content itself. Creators who find loopholes in the Youtube algorithm can put up some less-than-savory content. A good example of this was Elsagate, where seemingly child-friendly YouTube videos actually contained highly age-inappropriate content.
To add further safety measures, use Restricted Mode. Even with YouTube’s sometimes confusing UI, parents won’t have to delve deep into the settings to enable this setting.
To set up a profile on YouTube Kids, just download the app and authenticate yourself as an adult by performing a quick math puzzle. You’ll then have a few options to set and change parental controls.
YouTube is attempting to make the site and the app safer for kids by hiring more content moderators and by using advanced AI monitoring systems to catch inappropriate videos.
Creators also have tools to ban certain keywords from their comment sections, removing hate speech and other harmful content. YouTube is putting particular focus on curating the content on YouTube Kids to limit exposure to harmful media.
With over 300 hours of content uploaded to YouTube every minute, however, YouTube’s monitoring and restrictions systems will never be able to catch and review every possible risk.
Even with Restricted Mode activated, YouTube Kids isn’t 100% watertight. Some questionable content can still make its way through the filters. Here are some Youtube alternatives you can rely on, presented in order of effectiveness:
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