YouTube has announced expanded parental controls for tweens and teens. The upcoming feature is aimed at those who've perhaps outgrown the confines of YouTube Kids. YouTube will open a public beta for the supervised accounts feature in the coming months.
Through supervised Google Accounts, parents will be able to choose from three content settings. When you're comfortable enough to let your youngsters access a broader range of videos on the site than ones for young kids, you can enable the Explore setting. This will unlock a range of videos that YouTube says will be generally suitable for kids aged nine and older. They include the likes of vlogs, gaming clips, music videos, news and educational content.
The Explore More setting is aimed at teenagers. It will include a larger pool of videos, including live streams for the type of content that appears in the Explore setting. The Most of YouTube option is self-explanatory. It blocks age-restricted videos but it'll otherwise give older teens access to almost everything on the platform.
YouTube is using a blend of machine learning, feedback from users and human reviewers to determine which videos are enabled for each setting. It acknowledged that the system won't be perfect and some inappropriate videos will slip through the cracks, but it will evolve and improve the supervised experience over time.
Along with the content settings, parents will be able to view their kids' watch and search history. They can still enable other restrictions through Google's Family Link, including time limits. YouTube plans to add more controls, including the option to block certain videos.
Beyond content, the feature will limit tween and teen accounts in other ways. YouTube won't serve them personalized ads or certain ad categories, and in-app purchases will be disabled. Some comments and creation features will be turned off, though YouTube plans to eventually enable some of those "through an age-appropriate and parent controlled approach."
With the help of National PTA, Parent Zone and Be Internet Awesome, YouTube created a guide to help parents determine how to best to supervise their kids on the platform. It's also teaming up with creators to run a campaign that will see them discuss topics like misinformation, bullying, harassment and digital well-being.
The service says it will continue to work on YouTube Kids, which it claims is a better option for younger children than supervised accounts, by expanding the features and tools available to parents. Among these will be the option to enable access to certain videos or channels.