Is YouTube safe for kids?

Parents can't always watch over a child's shoulder when they're online, but some Web sites are helping parents filter content. See more parenting pictures.

Kids are spending more time online than ever. The Nielsen Company reports that in May 2009, children ages 2 to 11 made up 9.5 percent of the online population, growing faster than all other user groups combined [source: The Nielsen Company]. But what are they doing online, and do their parents know?

Nielsen also reports continued increases in watching videos online. Short form video like YouTube clips made up 83 percent of that viewing in May 2009 [source: The Nielsen Company]. YouTube far outnumbers other Web sites in unique video views online [source: The Nielsen Company]. With more kids using the Internet, it's only natural to conclude that kids are part of the growth in online video viewing, and YouTube is a large target for parents hoping to control what their kids can watch online.

Thankfully for parents, YouTube is willing to help them make using the site less worrisome. This article describes how YouTube is monitoring its community contributions, how its new Safety Mode feature works to filter out the "bad stuff" and how some Web sites are streaming a hand-selected list of "good" YouTube content in a kid-friendly user interface.