Are you considering starting a YouTube channel – or allowing your child to start one, and are wondering whether or not it’s actually safe?
This is a great question, and it’s wonderful that you’re considering this ahead of time – many people don’t start getting concerned for their safety until it’s too late.
So, how safe is YouTube for channel owners, and what can be done to make the platform safer?
In this article, I’ll share everything that you need to know!
Is It Safe To Start And Run A Channel On YouTube?
Yes – starting a YouTube channel is completely safe, as long as you are mindful of what you’re posting.
YouTube themselves shares no personal data with users. While they can see the channel handle that you set as well as your channel name, no other private data is shared.
This means that somebody cannot figure out your identity, address, or phone number from starting a channel alone, even if this information is tied to your Google account.
So, as long as you aren’t sharing any private information yourself, you should be completely fine.
Many people who worry about the safety of YouTube are parents, whose kids wish to become creators.
Believe it or not, this is quite common! YouTube creator, TikTok influencer and other similar professions are now what kids aspire to be when they grow up, different from the sports stars or singers of the past.
While starting a YouTube channel can be a fun way for children and teenagers to express themselves and learn video production skills, it does carry its own risks as well.
So, let’s look over some ways to ensure that children can be kept safe while starting their own YouTube channels.
Note: Technically, YouTube requires users to be at least 13 years old to be allowed to create channels, and people between 13 and 17 are supposed to have their parents’ permission. However, the advice I’m about to share will be catered to all ages.
How To Keep Kids Safe On YouTube
Whether you’re worried about the safety of your children or you just want to make sure your own videos are as safe as possible, here are five important tips to keep in mind before publishing any videos!
1. Screen Every Video Before It’s Published
It’s important that you carefully screen each video before it’s actually uploaded and published.
This means that you not only flip through it, but you sit down and review every second to ensure that no personal information is being shared, and the content is appropriate.
This is true even if the video does not actually show anybody on the screen. Often times, what we say is more dangerous than what actually appears on the screen visually.
If you do not have access to the computer or the video file before it’s made public, ask your child to share it as ‘Unlisted’ when they upload it.
Then, they will be able to send you a link to the video, but it will not yet be public.
Once you’ve reviewed it thoroughly, you can grant them permission to make the video public.
2. Make Sure Comments Are Turned Off
When it comes to the dangers of publishing on YouTube, the other major thing that you have to be worried about is comments.
Scammers, predators, and other people with malicious intent use the comments section to get in touch with YouTube publishers, and lure them off the platform where Google (and you) can’t see what’s going on.
So, if you’re going to let children and teenagers publish online, it’s a good idea to turn comments off.
Note that if YouTube detects a child in the video, they will turn comments off by default, with no way to turn them back on.
However, if a child does not appear on the screen – for example, on gaming videos where only gameplay footage is shown, comments may still remain on.
So, you should check the video page to make sure these are completely disabled.
3. Avoid Sharing Unnecessary Data – You’d Be Surprised What Can Be Dangerous!
A lot of what you say may appear completely safe at first glance, but can actually be used against you.
For example, you may talk about going to a specific store, without realizing that the store is only available in certain cities or regions.
Over time and across multiple videos, this can be used to figure out where you live. Combined this with other information shared (like names or interests), and somebody who is determined enough may acquire enough information to pose a risk.
Admittedly, the chances of this actually happening are extremely low.
Because it’s possible however, I wanted to make you aware of it. Brands, store names, and footage of outdoor areas can be used to narrow down your location!
4. If Communication Is Allowed, Ensure It Stays 100% On YouTube
Even if you do allow comments on the videos, there is one important rule that should always be followed – all communications stay on YouTube!
YouTube is owned by Google, and they are very good at determining when content breaks their guidelines. Additionally, they work heavily with law enforcement, so if people use their services to commit real-world crimes, they are far more likely to be caught.
Danger occurs when people are convinced to talk with someone outside of YouTube, where Google cannot monitor what is going on.
So, if comments are left on, insist that there will be absolutely no communication on other platforms, including popular applications like Discord or Skype.
5. Consider Monitoring Their Devices More Heavily
Finally, you may also consider monitoring their devices more heavily – especially if they are young.
Privacy is important, especially as children and teenagers get older. However, it is not my place to tell you how to parent your kids, and it is up to you to determine what is ideal for your family.
Therefore, you may require that they give you the passwords to their devices, or you install parental monitoring software that can show you exactly what they’re up to.
This can help alert you when they’re talking with somebody that they shouldn’t be, so you can step in and take action.
Starting a YouTube channel is completely safe, provided that you follow security precautions.
While YouTube themselves does not share any personal data, it is possible to share identifying data without realizing it, unless you are careful.
I hope that you’ve found this article helpful, and that it’s put some of your concerns at ease.
If you have any other questions about starting a YouTube channel, please ask them below and I’ll be happy to help.
Wishing you the best,
– James McAllister