Late holiday gift for parents – YouTube Kids App

Most of my blog posts focus on teens and what they are doing online. With touchscreens and tablets, younger and younger kids are playing in the digital world. Like the real world, there are places in the digital world where you do not want your kids hanging out. How do parents allow young kids the freedom to explore while keeping them out of adult spaces?

This is a tough question. Take YouTube. Kids love watching YouTube with so many choices of cartoons, shows, tutorials and music. Here, a child can find a humorous Minecraft video right next to one full of swearing that would make most parents cringe. Kapersky Lab found that kids, clicking on YouTube’s suggested videos displayed beside children’s programs, were just three clicks away from adult content. YouTube does have a safe mode. While this may eliminate some of the adult content, it doesn’t remove all of it.

youtube minecraft
youtube kids icon

This Monday, YouTube released its own video app just for kids.  YouTube Kids is available on Google Android and Apple IOS. The YouTube Kids app is not YouTube with more parental controls. This app is designed for kids and has only content appropriate for children. Kids can browse channels and playlists in four categories: Shows, Music, Learning and Explore. Yesterday, I played around with this new app.

youtube kids begin
YouTube Kids has great content from DreamWorksTV to PBS Cyberchase. It does appear to be aimed primarily at younger kids, I would say less than 8. The app does not require kids or parents to create an account. Simply download the app and start watching videos. YouTube Kids does have commercials. Like YouTube, kids can skip it after 5 seconds and unlike YouTube these commercials are kid friendly.

youtube kids controls

If a child tries to venture outside the confines of kid appropriate videos by searching for “sex” or other inappropriate terms they see this screen. Parents can also turn off the search function.

youtube kids search
YouTube Kids has parental controls. Parents can set these controls by tapping the lock symbol in the bottom left corner. After entering a random 4-digit pincode, parents can turn off the search function, background music as well as set a timer for how long kids can watch videos. The random 4-digit pincode may work well for a child who cannot read but an older child could certainly enter the code themselves and turn off the controls. When using the timer, parents should still keep an eye on the clock.

youtube kids pincode
Google says this is the first step toward a YouTube for families and is interested in feedback. Parents can send their thoughts to Google in “Feedback” within the app. They can also use Feedback if they find content not safe for kids. We need more companies creating family friendly products instead of slapping an over 13 warning in their Terms of Service. Hopefully, YouTube Kids is a sign of more great products to come.

door lock

Guess my password game the 2014 edition

door lock

Guess my Password Game” was one of the first blog posts I wrote on Kids Privacy. I just finished reading an article about the top 10 passwords and discovered my kid had #4. Following the game, we had a little discussion on how setting a strong password for every account and on their phone is one of the best ways to keep information safe and secure. I think of it as teaching kids how to lock the front door. Passwords are the same. This is a kid’s first line defense to keep out identity thieves as well as mischievous friends.

Below are a few more helpful hints on passwords. And, if you want to play the password game, I have included the list of top 10 passwords for 2014.

4 Passwords Tips

  • Chunk it

I am taking a cybersecurity class online. Before taking this class, I thought my inability to memorize passwords had to do with my advancing age as well as far too many things to remember. Turns out it is not. The way our short-term memory is designed, we can generally only remember 3 – 4 pieces of information. This goes for kids as well as adults. So how does one set a strong password of 8 or more characters? Chunk it. Chunking is organizing a long password into meaningful pieces. An example would be using a date or initials divided by symbols such as AP&25*CL&18. This may look like a random series of letters, numbers and symbols but it is actually 4 pieces of memorable information.

  • Not one password to rule them all

I see kids using the same usernames across Twitter, Instagram, Vine and Tumblr. Yes, it makes it easy for their friends and classmates to find their accounts but it also ties together a lot of information. If they are using one super password, they are also making it a lot easier for friends or former friends to log in as them. Kids should not share passwords, but some do. By having only one password, they may have giving their bff access to all their social networks. Kids should keep their apps protected by using different passwords for every account. Periodically, remind your kid to change their password. Kids should not have the same password from 6th grade to senior year.

  • Answering incorrect is correct

This is one time where giving the wrong answer is right. Someone may try to break into an account by attempting to reset the password. Often resetting requires answering a security question. Unfortunately, kids and adults frequently have the answers to many security questions, such as “name of your dog”, on their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or other networks. A good rule is to make the answer to the security question the incorrect answer. For example, kids can make the answer the opposite such as the name of their goldfish or a completely random word. The answer does not have to be right just something they will remember.

  • Don’t forget the Phone

When it comes to mobile devices, many of us leave our apps open all the time. There are several reasons for this: 1) It is a pain to log off and log in all the time and 2) it is usually near impossible to find a log out or sign off option on many apps. The only protection against someone picking up a kid’s phone and playing with all their apps is to set a password on the device. Even if it just a 4 digit pin code, kids can still make it difficult to guess their code by choosing 4 different numbers not in numerical order. Without a password, anyone who picks up their mobile phone or tablet can open up their Instagram or Twitter and pretend to be them.

For more Password Tips:

What are some good rules for screen names and passwords? by CommonSense Media

Password Safety & Security by iKeepSafe

Advice about Passwords by Kids & Media

 


2014 – Top 10 Most Common Passwords
123456
password
12345
12345678
qwerty
123456789
1234
baseball
dragon
football