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Is YouTube safe for kids?

YouTube Front-end Web Sites Just for Kids
ZuiTube's "Funniest Videos" page
ZuiTube's "Funniest Videos" page
Screenshot by Stephanie Crawford

With the growing number of kids online comes a growing amount of software targeted at filtering the bad stuff and easing parents' fears about what their kids will find. One category of targeted software is front-end Web sites. These Web sites have their own features to appeal to kids under 13 while showing pre-screened content from community Web sites like YouTube.

ZuiTube is one of these front-end Web sites. ZuiTube is a project from KidZui, the company behind the free KidZui Web browser designed to be safe and fun for kids. KidZui Founder and CEO Cliff Boro says ZuiTube gives kids "their own version of YouTube" to satisfy their curiosity. "The goal is to be both educational and entertaining" and to create a positive Internet experience for kids without anxious parents watching over their shoulders [source: Sutter].

ZuiTube uses active selection of "good" content instead of filtering out what's "bad" like YouTube's Safety Mode. ZuiTube uses a team of parents and educators across 25 states that select videos that they feel ZuiTube should allow. This group also actively selects the Web content that's allowed in the KidZui browser. KidZui says it has filtered millions of pieces of content, and has mapped out thousands of channels featuring things kids are interested in [source: Sutter].

Totlol, a Canadian front-end video Web site, takes a different approach. Totlol requires a paid membership of $3 per month, $18 per year or $54 "till the kids grow up" [source: Totlol]. Totlol focuses on video content and social networking with graduated features that change the experience based on a kid's age group.

While ZuiTube has other parents and educators actively finding content, Totlol gives you the control to select the videos. Totlol asks parents to help screen comments posted at the site. In addition, Totlol lets you authorize the site to access private videos in your YouTube account, giving your kids protected access to your home videos of them playing soccer or performing in a school play.

Fast forward to the next page for lots more information about having a kid-friendly YouTube experience.