How to Put Parental Controls on YouTube

By Andrew Tennyson

Hundreds of thousands of videos on YouTube are designed specifically with kids in mind. Parental controls help to ensure your children see these videos and not others that are age-inappropriate. Take advantage of the Safety Mode feature on YouTube to filter out content that’s inappropriate for kids.

Activate Safety Mode

Step 1

Visit the YouTube website and scroll to the very bottom of the page. This option is not available on sites on which YouTube videos are embedded.

Step 2

Click the “Safety” button to reveal the Safety Mode menu. The button is located next to the YouTube logo found in the bottom-left corner of every YouTube page.

Step 3

Click the “On” button and then click “Save” to turn Safety Mode on. This change only applies to the Web browser you’re currently using. If you make this change in Internet Explorer, for example, Safety Mode settings are not changed in Firefox or Chrome.

Activate and Lock Safety Mode

Step 1

Visit the YouTube website and click the “Sign In” button in the top-right corner of your screen to open the Google account sign-in page.

Step 2

Sign in to your Google account. If you don’t have a Google account or are presented with the log-in screen for an account other than your own, click the “Sign in with different account” link, select “Add account” and then click “Create an account.” Follow the prompts to create a Google account and then visit YouTube again when you are finished.

Step 3

Click the “Safety” button, click the “On” button and then click “Save” to turn Safety Mode on. Making this change while logged in to your Google account locks Safety Mode for all Google platforms and for all Google accounts on your computer.

Tips & Warnings

  • Google emphasizes that Safety Mode is not 100 percent reliable or accurate. The company relies on age restrictions and on its users to flag inappropriate content. As a result, new content or content that has not been flagged as inappropriate may still appear on YouTube even if you’ve activated Safety Mode.
  • Safety Mode is linked to Google SafeSearch, a feature that filters all Google search results that could be deemed inappropriate. Activating Safety Mode on YouTube automatically activates SafeSearch as well.
  • If you’re accessing YouTube via an Xbox console, turn on parental controls via the YouTube app's individual settings screen. Select “Video” on the main menu, choose “My Video Apps” and then click “YouTube.” Select “Settings” and then select the level of parental controls you want to apply. The three levels of parental controls are Strict, Moderate and Off.
  • Several websites exist that are designed to enable children to more safely search YouTube (links in Resources).
  • Set up a YouTube playlist for your kids to make it easier for them to watch their favorite videos. Doing so makes it less likely that they'll use the general search feature. Log in to your YouTube account, click the “Video Manager” button in the Creator Studio, click the “Add to” button on a video you want to add to the playlist and then select the playlist to which you want to add it.