YouTube is an online platform that allows people to watch and share self-made videos. Anyone can watch videos on the site without being logged in, but to interact fully with the site’s features you need a Google account. Videos that contain potentially offensive content are only viewable by registered users who have confirmed that they are at least 18 years old.
Once you create an account you can also make a channel. This is like your public profile and is where all your uploaded videos will be published. You do not have to create a channel but cannot access all features of the site without one. When someone uploads a video, they can also add a description and place the video into a particular category; the Video Manager allows you to select who can view your content. Uploaded videos are set to Public by default, which means anyone can find and watch them. Other options are Unlisted, so the video will not appear in search results and Private, which means the video will not appear in search results or on your channel, but can be privately shared.
When viewing a video, logged in users can ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ it using the thumbs up/down buttons, or subscribe to the channel. Channels you subscribe to appear on your YouTube homepage, along with some of the most popular videos in your location and suggested content based on your previous viewings. If you have created a YouTube channel, you can also leave comments on the video, or reply to a comment left by somebody else. As well as leaving comments publicly underneath a video, users are able to send private messages to someone else’s inbox. The Privacy Settings allow you to decide whether anyone can send you a message or you only want to receive contact from people in your contacts list.
YouTube has a Safety Mode that can be activated to help filter out inappropriate content. This can be locked to the ON setting for a particular internet browser, which can help parents and guardians to control what videos young people are able to access.
YouTube ranks in the top three most popular websites in the world. Used by the general public to upload and watch videos, the site is also used by companies and organisations to share things such as music videos and television content. The YouTube terms do not give any age restrictions, however there are minumum age requirements for owning a Google account:
Flagging a video is anonymous – users cannot tell who flagged a video. However, YouTube do require you to be logged in to use their flagging tools.
You may report users, inappropriate background images or profile avatars through the reporting flow located on the bottom of every channel.
To send a report of abuse or harassment through content or comments, use YouTube’s reporting tool.
Take action on comments. Click the arrow in the upper right of a comment on your channel or video to see your options.
Hold comments for approval. You can require approval for all new comments before they’re posted to your video or channel:
When someone comments, you’ll get a notification as well as a blue banner on the channel or video. You can then review the comments to approve, delete, or flag them for abuse or spam.