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YouTube™, like many other user-generated sites, has a lot of great videos and music to offer to the entire family. A person can look up old cartoons, or even shorts from children's programming and usually find a lot of terrific content. Videos that are inappropriate are usually flagged within a day of being put up, and people who violate the site's appropriateness clauses can lose their membership.
While at first, this sounds like the YouTube™ site might prove safe for a child to use, this is not entirely true unless a parent wants to expose a child to a great deal of obscenity, both in pictures and words. Sometimes, a video isn’t offensive but comments following it by users are, or a title itself uses profanity. As well, searches for videos can often lead to inappropriate content that has not yet been deleted or flagged. When someone uses a search for favorite kid-friendly things on the site, he is also given a list of other possibly related topics. A child navigating YouTube™ is likely to come across a lot of material that parents would not dream of allowing the child to see.
What a parent can do with user generated sites like this is set up a membership account and perform parental searches. Membership allows the person to create a page of favorites that doesn’t have unnecessary or undesirable content showing up to disturb or give children a needlessly advanced education. While searching, children should be out of the room, since things that seem innocent can suddenly turn quite ugly, like drawings of cute animals that begin to spew swear words.
By searching when a child is not present, a parent can sift through the inappropriate content and figure out which videos are great for kids and are family friendly. He can also set up the account preferences to not receive inappropriate or flagged content, although this is not a failsafe. Unfortunately, inappropriate content may leak through in the most innocent searches.
As with many Internet sites, the use of YouTube™ should be carefully watched by parents, and ideally, first navigated by parents in order to help children avoid inappropriate material. Even for older children, the site can dip into pornography, violence, and obscenity quite quickly. Posting videos on the by children may also pose problems since comments can be quite obscene.