Since there is no need to have an account to watch YouTube, kids can just open YouTube in incognito or private mode and watch whatever they want. Or they can just create a new Google account with a fake birth year to avoid all supervision requirements. The only way to make sure they won’t access inappropriate content is to install a powerful parental control app on their device. I tested dozens of parental control apps, but only a few of them have strong and effective YouTube parental control features. My top choice is Qustodio; it enforces YouTube’s Restricted Mode, monitors the YouTube app and website, works in incognito mode, and tracks the search and viewing history. You can try Qustodio for free for 30 days without using a credit card and see if the YouTube parental control features meet your expectations. Try Qustodio with YouTube Free for 30 Days!

Quick Guide: 3 Steps to Set Parental Controls on YouTube in 2023

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I thought that Google Family Link would have the best features since Google owns it and YouTube. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The parental control features are really weak. I can’t see a list of the videos viewed or the search history. The only thing it does is activate Restricted Mode, but it can’t enforce it. My children already know that if they want to avoid Restricted Mode, they can just sign out of their YouTube account or watch in Incognito Mode. Another major issue with Family Link is that Supervision Mode, which is needed to monitor the child’s device, is only for kids 13 and under (the age limit is subject to change based on the laws of your country). If the child is over 13, they can deactivate the supervision. If they’re under 13, they can change their birth year on the account to prevent parents from forcing Restricted Mode on them, so the supervision mode easily becomes useless. Try Qustodio Free for 30 Days!

The Best Parental Control Apps for YouTube in 2023

1. Qustodio: #1 App For Enforcing Parental Controls on YouTube

Key Features I found that the combination of Qustodio features made it easy for me to monitor and limit what my children do on YouTube. The first thing I did after creating a profile was to go to the YouTube feature, so I could limit how much time is spent watching YouTube videos.

Next, I blocked the YouTube website on all browsers, including Incognito and Private Modes. I prefer that they watch on the app because I can’t set specific time limits for the browser. When they go to YouTube, there is a screen lock page that says YouTube is blocked. I wanted to test how strong and consistent the screen lock is, and was happy with the results. I tried to bypass the restrictions in many creative ways with no success. Qustodio has a fully customizable filter with over 30 categories. In addition to preventing kids from opening inappropriate or dangerous websites, it also filters YouTube videos. The filter checks the video titles, descriptions, and tags to determine whether they can be viewed. Lastly, it enforces Restricted Mode and locks it, so it can’t be turned off without permission. Qustodio records all YouTube activity from the app and website and displays it on the Activity Timeline. I was able to see exactly what videos my children were searching for, what they watched when they were using YouTube, and how long they were watching videos. Qustodio lets me set a general time limit for the YouTube App, say an hour a day, but further than that, I like that I could also create a general screen time schedule for the kids. This way, I know they can’t watch YouTube during school hours when they should be in bed or doing their homework. These screen time rules apply to the website and the app, so it’s helpful if you decide not to block YouTube on the browser. Qustodio has a few subscription options based on whether you want to simultaneously monitor 5, 10, or 20 devices. You can start with their 30-day free trial, which requires no credit card, before committing to a monthly or annual subscription. This will give you access to all the premium Qustodio features, so you can see how powerful are the monitoring youtube tools. Try Qustodio Free for 30 Days!

2. Bark: Sends Alerts Based on Inappropriate Videos and Hurtful or Dangerous Comments

Bark works differently than the other parental control apps I’ve tested. Instead of simply monitoring the app or website, it connects with the child’s YouTube account. The biggest benefit to this method is that it doesn’t matter what device my child uses. The filters keep doing their job from anywhere. Bark constantly monitors their account to record the search history, viewed videos, and comments left on their videos. This way, I will get an alert if someone leaves mean or hateful comments or speaks inappropriately to my kids. Bark constantly monitors their account and records the search history and viewed videos. Bark has an extensive library of words, phrases, and slang terms that triggers an alert in 17 categories. These include cyberbullying, self-harm, depression, weapons, sex, drugs, and alcohol. It also follows all the channels the account subscribes to and alerts me when a new video is uploaded. I was happy to see that I could customize the alerts and adjust sensitivity levels for each category, so I wasn’t getting overwhelmed with alerts and notifications. Bark also enforces SafeSearch for Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo and Restricted Mode for YouTube. While I have seen some videos or search results get through the filter, when combined with Bark, it is very good. Another benefit of combining the two is that Bark locks Restricted Mode and SafeSearch, so my kids can’t turn it off. Bark has a customizable screen time calendar. It works by creating different segments throughout the day, and each segment has its own set of rules. For example, I can allow screen time between 4-6 in the afternoon but block YouTube and only allow the kids to watch it from 7:00 – 7:45. Bark has two subscription options, but if you want to monitor YouTube, and 35 other social media, email, and SMS apps, go with the Bark Sr plan. I recommend starting with a 7-day free trial, so you can see if Bark is a good fit before committing to a subscription plan. Try Bark Free for 7 Days!

3. Mobicip: Blocks Inappropriate Videos in YouTube Interface

Mobicip is one of the only parental control apps I’ve seen that places a block screen over inappropriate videos in the YouTube search results. It uses its web filter to scan the title, description, and other metadata related to the video, and if it triggers the web filter, it blocks the video. However, after a recent YouTube app update, this feature is unavailable for phones that are running Android 7.0 and higher or iOS 10+. But, Mobicip has an easy workaround. I can block the YouTube app and force my kids to only view videos through the browser. The Mobicip parental dashboard made it easy for me to see which videos my kids were watching. It has a clickable video thumbnail, so I can watch the video without opening a new page. I can also see the title, who posted the video, when it was watched, and how the Mobicip filter categorized it. The screen time limits are another good tool for setting YouTube parental controls. Mobicip divides all apps into three categories. I can limit an entire category, for example, if I can set an hour limit for Entertainment apps, which includes YouTube. Another option is to set time limits specifically for the YouTube app, or if the kids are watching through the browser, I could create a general screen time limit.

Mobicip has three subscription plans. They each have the web filter feature, but if you want to include YouTube monitoring and the ability to set time limits for apps, you’ll need to pick one of the two premium plans. If you’re not sure which plan is best for you, start with a free 7-day trial, test all the features, and then pick the best option for your family. Try Mobicip Free for 7 Days!

How to Choose the Best Parental Control App For Monitoring YouTube

I downloaded many parental control apps on my kids’ smartphones, tablets, and the family computer to test the YouTube parental control features. Here are some of the must-have parameters I insist on being found in the app in order to include it on this list.

YouTube Monitoring: I want to know what videos the kids are watching and what types of videos they’re trying to find. It can give me insight as to whether my child is being bullied, experimenting with drugs, looking for sexually related videos, or some other type of harmful topic. Filter: Only a few of the parental control apps I tested had filters that worked with YouTube. They check the video title, description, and comments to determine whether a video is appropriate. Block Apps and Websites: Watching YouTube can be addicting. If I see it’s becoming a real problem, I want the option to block the app or website remotely if I see my kids spending a few hours watching videos every day. Screen time features: In addition to blocking YouTube, I need general screen time management features. This way, I can set healthy limits for my kids and teach them the value of budgeting their time. Additional Parental Control Features: It’s rare that one would only need an app for monitoring YouTube. I recommend getting an all-in-one parental control app that allows you to monitor your children’s online activities and customize different rules for each one of them.

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Can I rely on YouTube Kids and Restricted Mode?

The biggest problem with YouTube’s built-in parental control options is that kids can easily get around the restrictions. Whether they use incognito mode, create a second YouTube account, or log off their account, they will be freed of these restrictions. Therefore, it’s a good idea to use a good parental control app like Qustodio, which can prevent turning off Restricted Mode. You can try Qustodio free for 30 days – no credit card required and see how easy it is to set up and enforce parental control on YouTube.

Are there free parental control apps that work with YouTube?

I was unable to find a truly free parental control app that worked well with YouTube. I started with Family Link since Google owns it, but all it does is enforce Restricted Mode. Some other common issues I found during my tests are that free apps are easy to bypass, don’t have screen time tools for limiting YouTube, and slow down the phone or computer. In the end, I concluded that it’s well worth the small subscription price for a good app that actually monitors and applies limits. If you’re not sure if you need parental control for YouTube, start with Qustodio’s free 30-day trial. You don’t need to use a credit card to activate the free trial, and you’ll get a month’s worth of data on how your kids’ YouTube activities. Then, you can make an educated decision on whether you should subscribe to the app and continue enforcing your rules or not.

Is Qustodio good at setting parental controls for YouTube?

Qustodio is the best parental control app I’ve tested for YouTube. It starts with a powerful filter with over 30 categories to prevent inappropriate videos from appearing in the search results. Next, you can create time limits to ensure your kids aren’t getting addicted to watching YouTube or create a schedule to ensure they’re not watching videos when they shouldn’t. I felt that while it was installed on my kids’ phones and computers, I had complete control, and I could block them from watching YouTube at any time.

How can I see what YouTube videos my kids are watching?

All of the parental control apps that I recommend above do a great job of recording the YouTube viewing and search history. I can log in to the parental dashboards and get a complete list, including links or clickable thumbnails, so I can check out the videos for myself. This includes YouTube videos that are watched in Incognito or Private Mode and when signed into different user accounts.

How do I limit how much time my kids can watch YouTube?

A good parental control app like Qustodio and Bark, have multiple tools for setting screen time limits. They both give you the option to set time limits for specific apps, such as YouTube, and then block the app when the child reaches their limit. You can also set general screen time rules for the phone and create a daily schedule of when websites like YouTube can be accessed. I challenged my kids to find ways to bypass the screen time rules, but they were unable to find any weaknesses that I couldn’t prevent. Try Qustodio Free for 30 Days!