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Parental controls on YouTube: the ultimate guide

DomMT
Rédactrice Web

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YouTube is an endless source of entertainment, how-to videos, information . . . and dubious videos. Can you prevent your children from stumbling across inappropriate content on the platform? Not entirely, but you can reduce the risk by configuring the parental control settings. Let us show you how. 

 

How do I activate parental controls on YouTube? 

To limit access to certain YouTube content, you need to activate Restricted Mode on all the devices your children use: 

  • Mobile phones 
  • Tablets 
  • Computers 
  • Smart TVs 

 

Google clearly states that “no filter is 100% effective.” It’s always possible that an inappropriate video will slip through the net. That said, Restricted Mode reduces the chance your children will be exposed to content intended for a mature audience. 

 

Activating Restricted Mode on a mobile device or computer 

The procedure varies depending on the device, but it’s usually as follows: 

  1. Go to YouTube and log into your account. 
  2. Click your profile photo, located in one of the screen corners. 
  3. Select Restricted Mode (sometimes called “Secure Mode”) from the menu. If you don’t see it, go to Settings. Depending on the device, you should then go to General Settings, Accounts or General. 
  4. Toggle Restricted Mode on or off. 

 

The settings only apply to the device or browser on which Restricted Mode is activated, not to the account. That means you need to activate Restricted Mode on all devices your children might use, and on all computer browsers. If your child can easily switch from one profile to another (for example, from one parent’s profile to the other’s), consider activating Restricted Mode on each profile. 

 

For detailed instructions by device type, see the YouTube Restricted Mode help section. 

 

Helix tip: Are you a Helix Internet subscriber? The Helix Fi app, which you can use to manage your Wi-Fi network, has Parental Control. This lets you activate YouTube Restricted Mode on all devices associated with a profile, when they’re connected to your home’s Wi-Fi network. Filters will also apply to Google and Bing browsers to hide explicit content. Learn how to activate Parental Control in the Helix Fi app.  

 

Activating Restricted Mode on a TV 

The YouTube app is available on most smart TVs. Here’s how to activate Restricted Mode (steps may vary slightly depending on the device): 

  1. Launch the YouTube app on your TV. 
  2. From the menu, select Settings. 
  3. Select Restricted Mode or Secure Mode. 
  4. Toggle the mode on or off. 

 

Note that you don’t need a PIN to deactivate Restricted Mode. This means tech-savvy kids could change this setting without your knowledge. We recommend checking your settings regularly to make sure they haven’t been altered. 

 

Helix tip: Are you a Helix TV subscriber? You can access the YouTube app directly on your TV. To activate Restricted Mode, follow the steps above. 

 

While you’re setting restrictions on YouTube, take the opportunity to set up the Helix TV Parental Control. You can filter what content is accessible by age, hide adult content, and even set a schedule for when devices can be used. Unlike YouTube, these settings are protected by a PIN set by you! Learn how to set up Parental Control on Helix TV.  

  

Note that Helix TV settings only apply to TV content, not YouTube videos watched on the TV. If you have multiple Helix TV terminals, you’ll need to set up Parental Control on each one. 

 

Do your children sometimes watch TV on a phone or tablet using the Helix TV app? Remember to set restrictions in the app for each device used. Learn how to set up Parental Control on the Helix TV app. 

 

My child has their own Google account: What should I do? 

Starting at age 13, your child has reached the minimum age in Canada to manage their own Google account. That means they can log in to their account to access YouTube, then configure the settings the way they want—including deactivating Restricted Mode. However, videos rated 18+ will remain hidden until they reach the age of majority.  

 

YouTube Kids: not available in Québec 

YouTube Kids, the children’s version of the platform, is unfortunately not available in Québec. It’s a shame, because the advanced filters, moderator-reviewed content, and family-friendly themes make YouTube Kids a great option for young video lovers. 

 

No filter is perfect 

Although parental controls are useful tools, they don’t completely eliminate the risk of children watching inappropriate videos. There are a few things that can help you supervise what they do on YouTube, such as only allowing your children to use the platform in common areas of the house, watching videos with them, or regularly checking their history. Seeing as YouTube is so widespread, we might as well teach our kids how to use it wisely!  

  

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