Why I built Safe Vision

Safe Vision is a mobile app that helps parents filter YouTube videos for their children.

When my daughter was 7, she was staying home alone from time to time (admittedly too early). One day she watched some scary videos on YouTube unsupervised. That was a traumatic experience for her: for a while, she was afraid of the dark, could not sleep alone, and would not stay alone in her room. Every little noise would scary her. She was telling us that things have moved on their own. It took her quite some time to recover.

Also, I noticed that my son watched a lot of gaming videos with strong language in them. That’s when I decided to do something about it.

Child watching TV

The trend is alarming: according to the study by NSPCC 40% of children seen violent material and nearly a third reported seeing self-harming or suicide content on YouTube.

Initially, I wanted the app to do all the filtering according to the child’s age. But I quickly discovered that parents have a wide range of opinions about what’s appropriate for their children. Today the main feature of the app is “unlocking” channels and videos in the parent mode.

I strongly believe that we as parents are responsible for what goes into the minds of our children. It’s like food: left to their own devices, children would eat a lot of junk food and candy. However, we as the parents are responsible for providing healthy choices.

This is true when the children are very young and lack a moral compass to tell them what’s good and what’s not.

I think James Bridle gave the best advice for parents about YouTube:

If you have small children, keep them the hell away from YouTube.

However, if you still want to let your child watch YouTube, please use some kind of parental control tool.

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