Sunday, February 10, 2013

You Tube: Increasing safe use with young children

In the previous post I discussed strategies for maximizing the educational benefit of videos with young children. The most important strategy, participating in viewing videos with a child, also is the most effective strategy in making sure a child is safe during online experiences. An adult needs to guide and monitor a child's use of You Tube. If an adult plans to allow the child some independent exploration of videos, I recommend using an alternative site or mobile app that connects to You Tube as discussed in this post, or an alternative site for content which I will discuss in my next post.

You Tube:  You Tube is the number one source of video content on the internet.  You Tube is not an age appropriate site for young children for several reasons.
*  The safety features of You Tube are not foolproof.  
*  Searches can lead to inappropriate content.
*  Even if an appropriate video is found and viewed, the related videos may not be appropriate.
*  The comments underneath a video are often the source of the most inappropriate material.

For these reasons I recommend using other, more child friendly sites, for video content.  But, if you choose to use You Tube, there are some strategies that will increase the safety and appropriateness for young children.  

Create an account, create playlists, teach and monitor.  Creating an account on You Tube allows you to create playlists.  Previewed and approved videos can be organized in playlists.  Once you create playlists you will need to teach your child where to find these approved videos and avoid unapproved videos in the related video section.  Monitor your child closely as she uses You Tube.  Here is a link to a document I have started with some of my favorite videos.

Learn to set the safety features on You Tube such as Safe Search.  Learn more about You Tube on Common Sense Media and in the Parent Resources section of You Tube.

Try web based sites that will enhance safety.  
You Tube for Children  is a site that is in beta (test version) that removes related videos and comments when a child is watching a video.  To locate a video you need to search for it by name.  The down side is that each video has to searched individually.  Using a tab based web browser such as Chrome would allow a parent to search for several videos and open them for a child in separate tabs.  Related videos appear in the viewing window when a video is done.  Children will need to be taught to hit the replay button rather than go to a new, unscreened video.

Safe Share TV:  This site removes related videos and comments.  A user needs to cut and paste the link from You Tube into the search box on the Safe Share TV site.  The site will generate a new link.  Click on “take me to the safe view” and a new window will open.  Using Chrome, several videos could be opened using different tabs.    

Symbaloo:  Symbaloo is a site where you can create custom webmixes consisting of tiles that link to You Tube videos.  Parents can create an account and create a web mix for a child suing videos that are approved.  When creating a tile, choosing “embed” will result in the video opening within the same window, keeping the related videos and comments away.  Related videos appear at the end of the video, if a child clicks on the video it plays within the site.  Another option is to use a combination of the site SafeShare TV and Symbaloo.  SafeShare TV strips all of the comments and related videos and gives you a link to copy and paste when you create the tile in Symbaloo.  You can not embed this type of link, so the video will open in a new window.  

Use a mobile app to enhance safety.  There are some apps for Android and iOS that can increase safety when using You Tube.   There are new apps released on a regular basis so before deciding on an app you may want to do an updated search to see what is available.  If there is a choice of allowing a child to use a computer or a mobile device for viewing You Tube videos, I would choose the mobile device with one of these apps.  

TinyTube:  This app connects to your You Tube account and pulls in the videos from you Favorites list.  You child only has access to videos you previewed and saved to your favorites.  There are no related videos or favorites shown while you child is viewing the video but related videos do appear at the end.  You will need to teach your child to locate the replay button or use the favorites button to leave the finished video page rather than selecting a related video that you have not previewed.

iTube List:  This app connects to your You Tube account and pulls in video from your playlists.  Free version has ads, for .99 you can get rid of the ads.  Related videos that have been screened by the app developer, are shown during viewing of the selected video, but comments do not show.  When the video ends, a play button appears instead of related videos.  

Apps with pre-selected content.  These apps do not connect with your playlists.  Instead the apps curate content deemed appropriate and allow your child to play the videos in a safe, contained environment.  

Weet Woo:  A collection of curated You Tube videos for young children provided in a safe, user friendly environment.  Here is a link to a review on Common Sense Media.  

Gube:  Another collection of curated You Tube videos for young children.  The interface is similar to You Tube.  

Kid Tube:  Android version of this type of app.

In the next post, I will provide some links to other sources for video content.

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