YouTube now lets parents decide exactly what kids can watch

Users can whitelist channels or videos they want their kids to have access to.

Abrar Al-Heeti Technology Reporter
Abrar Al-Heeti is a technology reporter for CNET, with an interest in phones, streaming, internet trends, entertainment, pop culture and digital accessibility. She's also worked for CNET's video, culture and news teams. She graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Though Illinois is home, she now loves San Francisco -- steep inclines and all.
Expertise Abrar has spent her career at CNET analyzing tech trends while also writing news, reviews and commentaries across mobile, streaming and online culture. Credentials
  • Named a Tech Media Trailblazer by the Consumer Technology Association in 2019, a winner of SPJ NorCal's Excellence in Journalism Awards in 2022 and has three times been a finalist in the LA Press Club's National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.
Abrar Al-Heeti
2 min read
YouTube Kids

YouTube Kids now lets parents whitelist videos and channels. 


YouTube Kids rolled out a new feature on Thursday that lets parents handpick the videos and channels their children have access to. The new parental controls are available worldwide on Android and will launch soon on iOS.

To enable the feature, open YouTube's settings, go to the child's profile and choose "approved content only." You can then start selecting videos or channels you want your kids to have access to by tapping the "+" button. Kids won't be able to search for content if this mode is enabled.

Watch this: 5 ways to set parental controls in the YouTube Kids app

YouTube Kids has faced criticism since November, when The New York Times reported that inappropriate clips weren't getting caught by the app's filters. One video showed Mickey Mouse in a pool of blood, for example. 

In late November, the company introduced new steps for protecting kids from disturbing content, including a tougher application of community guidelines and blocking inappropriate comments on videos featuring minors. The rollout of the new whitelisting feature on Thursday lets parents have more direct control over what their kids see on the app. YouTube first said it'd be rolling out the feature in April. 

YouTube also launched a new experience for kids ages 8 to 12 that includes additional content like popular music and gaming videos. YouTube Kids defaults to the "Younger" version, which includes sing-alongs and age-appropriate educational videos, but parents can select the "Older" version when they're setting up a new profile or updating an existing one. 

YouTube Kids

YouTube launched a new experience for older kids that features additional content, like popular music and gaming videos.


Parents can also swap between "Younger," "Older" and parent-approved content whenever they want. YouTube has started to roll out the new "Older" experience in the US, and will soon expand it worldwide.

Of course, the new whitelisting feature and tween experience won't be perfect, YouTube said. 

"We work hard to make videos in the app family friendly, but no system is perfect," the company said in a release. "It's always possible that a parent may find something they don't want their child to watch in the "Younger" or "Older" experiences. If this happens, we ask that parents block and flag the video for review by our team."

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