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5 tips for child safety on YouTube (before YouTube turns off comments on videos of kids)

FILE - This March 20, 2018 file photo shows the YouTube app on an iPad in Baltimore. YouTube says it will turn off comments on most videos that feature kids. The change comes after advertisers began boycotting the site last week in response to inappropriate comments made on videos of minors. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

YouTube has said it will turn off comments on nearly all videos featuring children, after recent reports that pedophiles were leaving inappropriate comments on videos featuring minors.

However, the company said it will take several months to disable comments on all videos featuring children.

Ken Colburn, of Data Doctors, said there are five steps parents can take immediately to increase their children’s safety while using the popular video sharing platform.

  1. Keep it private: Privacy settings can be set on individual videos when your child posts them to their YouTube channel. “If the videos themselves don’t need to be available to the public, start using the unlisted video option which basically takes it out of the public sphere and makes it a link that you can send to friends and family to view the video,” Colburn said.
  2. If you can’t say something nice: “You can completely disable comments yourself if your child has their own YouTube channel,” said Colburn. “Or, you make sure the comments are set to a moderator mode, meaning comments cannot be published publicly without the moderator approving the comments.”
  3. What would mom and dad think: Parents can be set up as moderator for their child’s account. “All comments are sent to Mom and Dad’s Google account, so that they can approve or deny these comments,” Colburn said.
  4. Be part of the solution: In the event a parent observes inappropriate posts on their child’s site, don’t just delete them, Colburn said. “Specifically, child predators using your child’s channel to have a communication — obviously report those immediately, so that you can help fight this particular issue.”
  5. Don’t put your head in the sand: “As with anything on the internet, if a child is left to figure things out, or manage these very complex situations, that’s really a bad way to go,” said Colburn. “If you’re going to allow your child to fully engage in YouTube or any of these social networks, it’s critically important that you open a dialogue about safety.”

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