How to Use YouTube's Parental Controls

In case your child's search for funny cat videos takes a wrong turn

What to Know

  • Web: Select YouTube profile > turn on Restricted Mode. Select Lock Restricted Mode on this browser.
  • YouTubeApp: Tap your profile image > Settings > General, and toggle on Restricted Mode.
  • Create a Google account for your child with Family Link, and then supervise their YouTube experience.

This article explains how to use YouTube’s parental controls. Instructions apply to the browser and mobile versions of YouTube.

Enable YouTube Restricted Mode in Your Web Browser

Restricted Mode is part of YouTube's current parental control offerings. Restricted Mode attempts to filter YouTube search results so that mature content is weeded out. It also prevents your child from viewing material that has been flagged as inappropriate by the YouTube community or has been marked "for mature audiences only" by the content's creator.

Restricted Mode is meant to limit the content of an explicit nature. YouTube makes no guarantees that it is 100 percent effective.

In addition to the Parental Control tips listed here, if you have a child under 13 years of age, consider using YouTube Kids for them. It's specifically designed with young children in mind.

To enable YouTube Restricted Mode:

  1. Log in to YouTube and open the home screen.

  2. Select your profile image or icon in the upper-right corner of the screen.

    YouTube with the profile image highlighted
  3. Select Restricted Mode: Off at the bottom of the menu.

    Restricted Mode selected in the YouTube menu
  4. Next to Activate Restricted Mode, click the slider to turn on the feature

    Activate Restricted Mode toggle button in YouTube
  5. Click Lock Restricted Mode on this browser to prevent your child from turning off restricted mode.

    Lock Restricted Mode on this browser link at YouTube
  6. The page you were on will reload, and YouTube will be restricted from delivering inappropriate content.

    Repeat this process for every web browser on your computer.

You can also make Google safer for your kids with Google parental controls.

Enable YouTube Restricted Mode on Your Mobile Device

Restricted Mode is available on most YouTube mobile apps. The process for locking the feature is similar on these devices. Here's how to enable Restricted Mode on an iOS device.

  1. Open the YouTube mobile app and sign in to your account.

  2. Tap your profile picture or icon at the top of the screen.

  3. Choose Settings > General.

    YouTube on iPhone with profile icon, Settings, and General highlighted
  4. Use the slider next to Restricted Mode to turn on the feature.

  5. Use the back arrow to go back to Settings, and then tap the X to close the screen. YouTube will be restricted from delivering inappropriate content.

    YouTube iPhone settings with Restricted Mode, toggle, and X highlighted

    YouTube Restricted Mode weeds out content that is inappropriate for children, but you should not rely on it entirely.

What Are YouTube Supervised Experiences?

If they are 13 or under, and ready to explore more than the curated content on YouTube Kids, consider setting up a YouTube supervised experience for your child. With a YouTube supervised experience, parents supervise their child's account and set content settings limiting the videos their child can locate and play.

The child with the supervised account (which is linked to the parent's account) will also access fewer features, different account settings, and curated ads. To create a YouTube supervised experience, your child needs a Google account, which you can set up with Family Link.

How to Create a YouTube Supervised Experience

There are two parts to creating a supervised YouTube experience for your child. First, you'll create a Google account for your child using Google's Family Link app. Next, you'll link to the child's YouTube account and set up their parameters.

Create a Google Account for Your Child With Family Link

To set up a supervised account for your child, you'll need to create and manage a Google Account with Family Link.

  1. Download the Family Link app for iOS or Android.

  2. Open Family Link and tap Get Started.

  3. The screen will ask if your child has a Google Account. Tap No.

  4. On the Create your child's Google Account page, tap Next.

    Google Family Link app with Get Started, No, and Next highlighted
  5. You'll see a message about creating a Google account for your child. Tap Next to continue.

  6. Enter your child's first and last names and tap Next.

  7. Enter their basic information and tap Next.

    Google Family Link app with Next, name information, and birthday info highlighted
  8. Select a suggested Gmail address or create your own and tap Next.

  9. Enter a password and tap Next.

  10. Enter your email and phone number. Your child's account will be linked to this account.

    Google Family Link app with child's email, password, and parent sign in highlighted
  11. You'll see information about your child's Google account, Family Link, and parental supervision. Scroll down and tap the boxes to agree to Google's terms and tap Agree.

  12. Enter your password and tap Next.

    Google Family Link app with agreement terms and password highlighted
  13. Review the information about your child's account and tap Next.

  14. You'll see a message that you've created an account for your child. Tap Next to finish.

    Google Family Link app with child's account created

Set up Your Child's YouTube Viewing Experience

Now that you've set up a Google account for your child, you can link to their YouTube account and create their supervised experience.

  1. Launch the YouTube app and select your profile icon or picture.

    YouTube with profile icon highlighted
  2. Select Settings.

    YouTube with settings highlighted
  3. Next to Parent Settings, select Manage settings for your kids.

    Manage Settings for Your Kids highlighted in YouTube settings
  4. Select the child's account.

    YouTube parent settings with a supervised child account highlighted
  5. Select YouTube and YouTube Music (parent supervised). You can also select YouTube Kids for a more protected experience.

    YouTube parent settings with YouTube and YouTube music highlighted
  6. YouTube will warn you that even a supervised account can't protect your kids from inappropriate content and that YouTube Kids is a more secure experience. Click Select to continue with a YouTube supervised account.

    YouTube content warning with Select highlighted
  7. Choose a content setting. Choose Explore for content likely appropriate for ages 9 and up, Explore More for 13-plus content, or Most of YouTube for more comprehensive content.

    YouTube supervised experience content settings
  8. Follow the prompts to set parameters and choose settings for a supervised YouTube experience.

  • How do I start a YouTube channel for kids?

    Set up a Google account using the Family Link app; your YouTuber can then join YouTube as a creator. In their YouTube account, select their profile icon > Create a Channel and follow the prompts. Customize their settings to make the experience easy and safe.

  • How do I turn off 'made for kids' on YouTube?

    To remove the "made for kids" setting on your YouTube channel, sign in to YouTube Studio and select Settings > Channel > Advanced Settings. Under Audience, select No, set this channel as not made for kids.

  • How do I change YouTube Kids to YouTube?

    Launch YouTube in a browser and select your profile icon > Settings > Manage settings for your kids. Select the child's account; under YouTube Kids Settings, select Remove access to YouTube Kids. Then select Set up YouTube and YouTube Music and follow the prompts.

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