Despite their best intentions, sometimes kids and teens place videos on YouTube that aren’t in their best interest, aren’t in the best interest of others, show criminal activities, or just expose too much personal information. When this type of incident occurs, the best course of action is swift and decisive action.
Your goal is three-fold; remove the video or make it private, remove or reduce the damage caused by the video, and then educate your child on how to evaluate the appropriateness and safety of videos before they are uploaded.
If your only concern about a video is that it shares too much personal information to be publicly viewable, you have two options: you can have your child make it ‘private’ or make it ‘unlisted’. Videos uploaded to YouTube are by default set to ‘public’, but when uploading a video and filling out information about the video, there is a section called Broadcasting and Sharing Options. It is under this section that the options for private and unlisted are found.
Making a video private limits access so only your child and up to 50 other people who they invite (discuss with them who they are allowed to invite) will be able to see the video. When a video is set to private, the video does not appear on your child’s video channel, in search results, or in playlists.
Here’s how your child can make their video private, and share it with selected individuals:
Making a video unlisted means that only people who know the link to the video can view it (such as friends or family to whom you send the link). Unlisted videos do not appear in YouTube search results, your child’s channel, or on the Browse page. The key differences between unlisted and private videos are:
Sometimes, the video content dictates that the video should be removed, not merely set to private. Only the person who posted a video can remove the video, but other options for removing a video are also covered.
Understand that as soon as your child or teen deletes a video, it will be unavailable for viewing, but it may take time for YouTube’s video search results for the video and thumbnail images to disappear from the site.
Once the offending video has been removed, you may need to take no further steps. However, if the video caused embarrassment, risk, or bullying, to your child – or to another child – you may need to take additional actions. These actions may include talking to the school about how to address any issue that has spread to the school environment, finding a counselor for your child, making your child apologize to whomever they hurt, closing their YouTube account, reporting an issue to the police, and so on. Only you and your child can judge what the right course of action may be based on the circumstances.
To learn how to start a discussion with your child about how to appropriately use YouTube, see the article What should my kids understand before posting or viewing videos on YouTube?