How to Lock the YouTube Screen for Your Child‘s Safety

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Hey there! Have you ever needed to quickly pull up an educational video on YouTube for your kid, but didn‘t want them wandering off into the endless internet afterward? I‘ve totally been there as a parent!

The best way I‘ve found to focus my children‘s attention on approved videos is to lock the YouTube screen on my phone or tablet. This prevents them from searching for other content or even turning off the device. Pretty nifty trick, right?

In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll walk you through exactly how to lock down the YouTube app on both iPhones and Android phones. I‘ll also provide tips to manage screen time for kids, plus answers to common questions.

Let‘s dive in!

A Quick Summary of How Screen Locking Works

Before jumping into the step-by-step instructions, here‘s a quick rundown of how the YouTube screen lock process works:

  • YouTube itself doesn‘t have a native lock option, so we‘ll use built-in tools on your phone instead.

  • On Android, enable a feature called screen pinning to lock the app.

  • On iPhone, use a tool called Guided Access to lock down YouTube.

  • Both platforms require you to select a video first before locking the screen.

  • Once locked, kids stay fixed on that one video until you enter your passcode to unlock the phone.

  • Locking prevents kids from exiting the video, turning off the screen, or searching for other content.

So in a nutshell – it replicates a parental lock just for YouTube! Now let‘s look at how to set this up properly on both major phone platforms.

Step-by-Step Guide to Lock YouTube on Android

If you‘re an Android user like me, locking the YouTube screen is a breeze with screen pinning. Just follow these steps:

1. Enable Screen Pinning in Your Settings

  • Open your Settings app and select Security & Location
  • Scroll down and tap on Advanced
  • Now toggle on the setting called Screen pinning

This enables the overall capability to lock apps on your device.

2. Open the YouTube App and Pick a Video

  • Launch the YouTube app from your home screen as usual
  • Find an appropriate, kid-friendly video you want to share
  • Tap on the video thumbnail to open it and start playback

Get the video loaded up before moving to the next step.

3. Open Recent Apps and Tap the Pin Icon

  • Swipe up from the bottom or tap the square button to see your recent apps
  • In the YouTube app preview, you‘ll see a pin icon in the top corner
  • Tap on this pin icon which will lock and pin that app

4. Confirm Pinning the YouTube App

  • A popup will appear asking you to confirm pinning the app
  • Tap "Start" and the YouTube app will now stay fixed on that video!

To unpin it later, press and hold both the Back and Recent Apps buttons together until your password prompt appears. Then enter your PIN or password to unlock.

And that‘s all it takes to lock down the YouTube app on Android! Super quick and keeps your child stuck right on the video you picked.

How to Lock the YouTube Screen on iPhone

Apple devices have a similar screen pinning feature called Guided Access. Here‘s how to set it up:

1. Enable Guided Access in Settings

  • Open your Settings and go to Accessibility
  • Scroll down and tap on Guided Access
  • Toggle this switch ON and also set a Passcode

The passcode will be needed to unlock pinned apps.

2. Open YouTube and Pick a Video

Same as Android – launch YouTube and select an appropriate video for your child to watch and get it playing.

3. Triple-click the Side Button to Lock

  • With the video running, quickly triple-click the Side Button (or Home Button on older iPhones)
  • This will lock the device and bring up the Guided Access screen

4. Circle Areas to Disable Controls

  • On the Guided Access screen, use your finger to draw circles over anything you want to disable
  • Circle the YouTube logo, search bar, or anywhere else you don‘t want tapped

This blacks out those areas. Finally, click Start in the bottom corner and YouTube will be locked down!

To unlock, triple-click the Side/Home button again and enter your Guided Access passcode.

And that‘s it! Just follow those steps to easily lock YouTube and keep kids focused on the right videos. Pretty handy parental control feature huh?

Helpful Tips for Managing Your Child‘s Screen Time

In addition to locking the YouTube screen for your kids, here are some other great tips for balancing screen time:

Use YouTube Kids

The YouTube Kids app provides a more curated selection of age-appropriate videos. You can also block specific channels or content as needed.

Create a Separate Kid Profile

Make a dedicated YouTube profile for your child and toggle on "Kids Mode" to filter out more mature content.

Pre-Screen Videos Yourself First

It‘s always a good idea to watch videos yourself before showing them to your kids, just to make sure the content is appropriate.

Set Screen Time Limits

Use the built-in Screen Time (iPhone) or Digital Wellbeing (Android) controls to limit how much YouTube kids can access.

Subscribe to Kid-Friendly Channels

Fill up your child‘s YouTube feed with subscriptions to channels like Sesame Street, PBS Kids, Kidz Bop, and more.

Supervise Young Kids

It‘s smart to stay nearby and supervise toddlers or early preschoolers during any screen time. Locking videos helps keep them focused.

With the right balance of management tools and screening content yourself first, YouTube can be an enriching source of entertainment and education for kids!

Answers to Your Most Frequently Asked Questions:

I know you probably still have some questions about locking down the YouTube screen for your child. Here are answers to some commonly asked questions:

Can you natively lock videos within the YouTube app?

Unfortunately no – there is no direct way to lock videos straight from YouTube itself. You need to use the screen pinning tools built into your iPhone or Android device.

Does the screen lock work on the YouTube Kids app too?

Yes it does! The steps are the same for enabling Guided Access or screen pinning whether you‘re in the main YouTube app or YouTube Kids.

What happens if my kid exits out of a locked video?

On both iPhone and Android, exiting a pinned app requires entering your device passcode first. So kids won‘t be able to close it on their own without your password.

Can I lock YouTube but let the audio play in the background?

Yep, you can absolutely lock the video while the audio continues playing in the background if you switch apps. The playback persists.

Is there any way to let kids pause while the screen is locked?

Unfortunately, when using screen pinning, all controls like play/pause are disabled. You‘d have to unpin the app first to give them access again.

I hope these answers help clear up any lingering questions! The key takeaways are that while YouTube itself doesn‘t have parental controls, you can easily approximate locking it down using your phone‘s built-in tools.

This lets you quickly launch an approved video for your child while preventing them from searching for other content or turning off the device. Give it a try next time you need to focus your kids‘ attention on educational YouTube videos!

Let me know if you have any other questions!


Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.