How To Block YouTube Completely?

Beyond doubt, YouTube is THE most addictive site/app online. Across the world, people clock in upwards of 1 billion hours of videos watched on YouTube everyday beating Netflix and Facebook views combined! Additionally you can navigate YouTube in over 80 different languages, covering nearly 95% of the Internet population. There’s no other type of content that commands such levels of attention, virality, engagement and excitement. Improvements in mobile networking technologies and a rapid rise in broadband penetration have helped increase the popularity of videos among consumers. More than five billion videos get viewed on YouTube everyday and over 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute! And more than 70% of the views come from mobile devices alone, which are always at hand and can be carried anywhere (to bed, to the toilet, or even while driving).

YouTube App

Why One YouTube Video Is Never Enough

YouTube is designed to keep you hooked. YouTube’s in-built search and AI-based algorithms work with amazing accuracy to showcase “recommended videos” that one just can’t ignore. So while you initially intended to watch just a cute “cat video”, you might just end up bingeing on similarly “addictive” content served to you by “YouTube’s recommendation engine” for the next couple of hours. And thanks to YouTube's autoplay feature for recommended videos, users are more likely to stumble down an algorithm-powered exploitative video rabbit hole, ensuring a seamless transition from one video to the next. Google did seem to take cognisance of the severity of the issues at hand and develoved tools to take charge of one's digital wellbeing; but these measures have been hardly effective in stemming the addictive influence of YouTube's popular videos as they are often buried deep under complicated settings.

While YouTube users across the board report compulsive bingeing, there is an alarming rise in such excessive behaviour observed among kids & teens. A never-ending stream of content combined with peer pressure and FOMO push kids into a vicious cycle of compulsive internet use. And according to Jeff Nalin, a psychologist and co-founder of the Paradigm treatment center for teens, compulsive internet use and depression go hand-in-hand for more and more of today’s kids & teens.

 

YouTube Can Be Inappropriate For Kids

Young child watching a YouTube video in bed

According to studies conducted at Pew Research Center, "YouTube has emerged as a key platform for both younger and older kids. Fully 89% of parents of a child age 5 to 11 say their child watches videos on YouTube, as do 81% of those who have a child age 3 to 4 and 57% of those who have child age 2 or younger. And while majorities of parents whose child uses YouTube credit the platform for entertaining and educating their children, a majority of these parents are concerned about their child being exposed to inappropriate content on the video sharing site."

While YouTube addiction remains a grave concern among parents, there are other risks on the platform that have been highlighted over the last 2 years. Logan Paul, a 22-year-old YouTube star with 15 million-plus subscribers, was heavily criticised for posting a video featuring a young man who appeared to have recently hanged himself. Another popular vlogger, PewDiePie was accused of promoting anti-semeticism on his channel. There have also been disturbing reports of videos featuring cartoon characters popular among kids (like Paw Patrol & Peppa Pig) indulging in violent and often inappropriate acts. In the past, BuzzFeed News provided YouTube with examples of videos depicting children in compromising, disturbing and even abusive situations. Even YouTube Kids, which was designed as a digital haven for children, wasn't spared; with cleverly disguised videos slipping past filters.

“Algorithms are not a substitute for human intervention... you need humans,” says Mr. Golin, whose group and the Center for Digital Democracy filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission in 2015 against YouTube Kids. But YouTube has just over 10,000 content moderators to tackle more than 5,000,000,000 video views every day; that's just like looking for a needle in a haystack! 

 

What Can Parents Do?

At the minimum, parents must at least set up YouTube parental controls to better filter content on the platform. Here are 4 ways to set parental controls on YouTube and protect against inappropriate content. In some cases however, additional measures to block YouTube might be necessary along with some of the measures mentioned above. So here are 7 ways in which you can partially/completely block YouTube on various platforms:

Father helps out his children with something on the laptop

How To Block a YouTube channel

YouTube is filled with fun, innocent, and educational videos interspersed with inappropriate content uploaded by shady channels. But YouTube doesn't provide a straightforward way to block a channel. However here are some indirect ways to nudge YouTube into not showing content from a particular channel: 

  • Navigate to the "History" or "Watch history" section on YouTube on your mobile device or computer respectively. Locate videos from the offending channel and simply remove them from the list. This should "teach" YouTube's algorithm to stop showing recommendations from that channel. 

Remove videos from YouTube's watch history

  • On the YouTube homepage, locate a video from the channel you want to block. Click on the 3 vertical dots below the video in question and select either "Not interested" or "Don't recommend channel" from the drop-down menu. Similarly when watching a video and coming across an inappropriate recommendation, click on the 3 dots below the video in question and select "Not interested"; oddly enough YouTube doesn't provide the "Don't recommend channel" option here. These steps will help YouTube provide you more appropriate recommendations. 

Customise YouTube's video recommendations

Lingering Concerns:

  • This tactic can only be a reactive measure at best. 
  • Channels that haven't been "flagged" or "removed" can always serve viewers with an offending/inappropriate video.
  • Extensions like the one mentioned above fail quite often. And when they do work reliably, they are limited to computers and specific browsers only!

 

Block YouTube with Mobicip's Screen Time Restrictions

Kids tend to watch videos right before bed time, or secretly binge on them late into the night. This disturbs their sleep cycle and eventually affects their quality of sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation:"Those who spend a lot of time in front of a screen tend to go to bed later, take longer to fall asleep, and sleep fewer hours than those with less exposure to these devices". The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), in its study endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), observes that: “Regularly sleeping fewer than the number of recommended hours is associated with attention, behavior, and learning problems... Insufficient sleep also increases the risk of accidents, injuries, hypertension, obesity, diabetes and depression".

Parents can also refer to the specific screen time guidelines released by the AAP and use their Family Media Plan tool to balance their family's overall screen time consumption. And that's where Mobicip can help. Parents can set effective screen time schedules that will enforce a partial shutdown of devices during specific time windows (as shown in the video below). 

With Mobicip, parents can set screen time schedules on all types of devices at home. Mobicip's screen time feature is supported on iPhones, iPads, Android phones and tablets, Windows PCs & laptops, Macs, Kindle Fire and Chromebooks. We recommend parents to block screen time from 1.5-2 hours before bed time to 1.5-2 hours after they get up. So if your child usually goes to bed at 10 p.m. and wakes up around 6 a.m. you can block the time window from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. the next day. While the screen time restrictions will automatically limit time spent on YouTube, Mobicip's YouTube parental controls and filter will effectively block inappropriate content on the app and website when the kids do access it; thus providing a double net of protection.

 

3 Ways to Block YouTube on PCs

Almost half of households worldwide are estimated to have a computer at home. And for young kids, such a shared family computer is often the first window into the internet. So here are 3 ways to block YouTube on computers:

How To Block YouTube on Your Computer With a Browser Extension

Chrome is the go to browser on most computers today. Extensions are a neat way to add supplementary features to the standard Chrome browser. The "Block Site" extension allows you to block any specific website of your choice. So here's how you can use it to block YouTube:   

  • Search for "Block Site". Tap on ‘ADD TO CHROME’ next to the ‘Block Site’ extension.
  •  Click on ‘Add Extension’ on the dialogue box.

adding the "Block Site" extension to the Chrome browser

  • Open YouTube on your browser. 

  • Now, click on the extensions icon on the top right corner of the browser.

  • Click on the "Block Site" extension.

  • Click on the "Block this site" button. That's it. YouTube is now blocked on this browser.

blocking YouTube with the "Block Site" extension

Lingering Concerns:

  • Extensions are notoriously easy to remove
  • Extensions are linked to the concerned browser. Your kids can download another browser to circumvent limits set on the Chrome browser. 

 

How to Block YouTube in All Computer Browsers

If you would like to block YouTUbe across all browsers in a computer, follow the steps outlined below:

  • First, open your computer’s ‘hosts’ file. You can do this on a Windows computer or on a Mac computer.
  • Enter a line at the bottom with YouTube’s address >> Type 127.0.0.1, press the ‘Tab’ key >> Then type ‘youtube.com’ and press the ‘Enter’ key.

    • In case you are using Chrome, press ‘Space’ right after YouTube’s address and the type ‘www.youtube.com’ to proceed. 

  • Next, type in 127.0.0.1 and press ‘Tab’, then type in ‘m.youtube.com’. After that, press the ‘Enter’ key.

    • If you're using Chrome, add a space and ‘www.youtube.com’ here as well.

  • Next, save your ‘hosts’ file.

    • For Windows: File >> Save As >> Text Documents >> All Files >> Save >> Yes 

    • For Macs: Ctrl+X >> Press ‘Y’ >> ‘Return’.
  • That’s it! Just restart your device and you’re good to go!

Lingering Concerns:

  • There's nothing that could prevent a motivated tech-savvy child from undoing these settings! These steps are available on several tutorials online.

 

How to Block YouTube on Your Network

Tech-savvy parents might prefer to block YouTube through the router’s admin settings. Here are the steps:

  • Open your browser and enter your router’s IP address.

    • Follow these steps to find the IP address: Start >> Settings >> Network & Internet >> View Your Network Properties >> Look for the number beside ‘Default Gateway’.

  • Next, enter your admin username and password to access your router’s settings.

  • Look for menu options containing keywords such as ‘URL Filters’, ‘blocked websites’ and more. 

  • Add ‘youtube.com’ to your list of restricted addresses.   

Exit and try to open YouTube on your device.  You shouldn't be able to access YouTube now.

Lingering Concerns:

  • There's nothing that could prevent a motivated tech-savvy child from undoing these settings! These steps are available on several tutorials online.

 

How to Block YouTube Completely with Mobicip

Parents can block YouTube completely with Mobicip (find out how to block apps in general). Mobicip allows parents to restrict any app or game available on the iOS Appstore or Google Play. You can also block apps even before they are downloaded by your children!

How to Block YouTube on Computers & Laptops (Chromebook, Windows & Mac)

Mobicip allows parents to block specific websites on their child's computer or laptop (Chromebook, Windows & Mac). So blocking the YouTube website is pretty straightforward as shown in the steps below. 

  • On the "Family" page click "CONFIGURE" under the concerned child profile.
  • Scroll down and click on "Websites".
  • Type the following in the text box: youtube.com, m.youtube.com 
  • Click "Block".

How to block YouTube with Mobicip on Computers and Laptops

You have now succesfully blocked the YouTube website on your child's computer or laptop.

How Block YouTube on iOS & Android Devices (iPhone, iPad, Android phones/tablets & Kindle Fire)

Mobicip allows parents to block specific apps on their child's iOS & Android device(s). You can even block an app in advance, even before it is downloaded! So blocking the YouTube app is pretty straightforward as shown in the steps below. But please note that your children might still be able to access YouTube on a browser. To also block the YouTube website on iOS & Android browsers, please follow the steps outlined in the previous section (How to Block YouTube on Computers & Laptops).

  • On the "My Family" page, scroll horizontally to select the concerned child profile >> Then click "CONFIGURE".
  • At the bottom of the screen, you'll notice the "Suggested settings for the child" >> Scroll horizontally >> Find the "VIDEOS" or "MOBILE APPS" settings.
  • Click on the "VIDEOS" or "MOBILE APPS" settings.

How Block YouTube on iOS & Android Devices (iPhone, iPad, Android phones/tablets & Kindle Fire)

If you clicked on the "VIDEOS" setting follow these steps:

  1. Scroll through the list of video apps on the device.
  2. Find YouTube on the list.
  3. Switch the toggle button to block YouTube (the toggle should turn white) >> Click "Done".

If you clicked on the "MOBILE APPS" setting follow these steps:

  1. Scroll through the list of mobile apps on the device.
  2. Or search "YouTube" on the search bar.
  3. Switch the toggle button to block YouTube (the toggle should turn white) >> Click "Done".