The Echo Show is a great touchscreen-enabled product from Amazon, but it also makes it a little bit too easy for children to freely surf YouTube – potentially accessing inappropriate videos.
Therefore I went looking for makes on how to child-proof the YouTube installed on the Echo Show, and this video covers everything you need to know. It covers how to make standard YouTube “child safe”, along with how to “enable” YouTube Kids on your Echo Show.
Both options can work well, but can also have some flaws too – which I discuss in this video.
The individual timestamps of the video’s sections are:
- 0:00 Intro
- 1:12 How to ‘enable’ YouTube Kids
- 2:06 Fixing the annoying registration process
- 3:00 Benefits of YouTube Kids
- 4:02 Remove standard YouTube bookmark
- 4:18 Block open YouTube voice command
- 5:05 Clear browsing history
- 5:36 Block m.youtube.com in your router
- 6:04 Make standard YouTube child-safe
- 6:21 How to sign-in to YouTube
- 6:47 Video recommendations
- 7:04 Restricted Mode
- 7:36 Mark inappropriate
- 7:54 Watch some children’s videos
- 8:24 Benefits of logging into YouTube
- 8:45 Wrapping Up
Hello, I’m Tristan. The Amazon Echo Show is a really useful device: it has a touchscreen which makes it really easy to manage your smart home, play music, and even surf YouTube. But this sometimes has a downside: if YouTube is playing and your children are nearby, one moment it’ll be playing Blippi. You quickly turn around, and 5 seconds later it’s playing Slipknot.
Well that’s actually probably not the worst thing it could be playing, but you get my point. The touch-screen makes it a bit TOO easy for anyone to surf YouTube and play random videos.
It’s also not helped by the fact that your children can just say “Alexa, open YouTube” and YouTube will appear, ready for tiny fingers to scroll and choose whatever video they want. Thankfully, there’s a better way.
“Alexa, open YouTube”
“No, go away”
Just kidding. But thankfully, there ARE effective ways that allow you to either make YouTube “kid safe”, OR you can block standard YouTube completely and instead have YouTube Kids running on your Echo Show. Let’s dive into how to do this. I’ll start by showing how to “enable” YouTube Kids on the Echo Show, but sometimes this can be a bit slow (or buggy), so at the end of this video, I’ll then cover how to “child-proof” standard YouTube instead.
Right, so the first thing to know is that the Echo Show is NOT app based. You can’t just “uninstall” YouTube, and “install” YouTube Kids like you can on an Android or iOS phone. The Echo Show uses fairly custom software, and the main way that you access ‘internet stuff’ (to use the technical term) is via a bundled web browser. This used to be Firefox, but now it’s Amazon Silk.
And thankfully YouTube Kids isn’t just a mobile app: it’s also a website, available at youtubekids.com. So ‘enabling’ YouTube Kids is mainly just a case of opening the web browser by saying “Alexa, open Silk”, then typing “youtubekids.com” into the address bar.
Oh yeah, you then have to sign-in – which is a REALLY buggy and annoying process, and it might make you cry. When you first go to YouTube Kids, you’ll notice that the layout is broken. Thankfully you can fix this by hitting the desktop icon to the right of the address bar. Then it’s “simply” a case of following the instructions – which involves watching a video, signing into your YouTube/Google account, then the webpage crashing and you having to start all over again.
Seriously, I’m not joking. After logging in, the webpage will probably show a white box. You then have to refresh the page, and start over again – meaning you need to watch the same video again. But thankfully the second time around, the login process should work – allowing you to THEN get onto the screen where you can enter your children’s details.
After what feels like an eternity, you will finally be on YouTube Kids and your children can surf it freely – and you can be safe in the knowledge that there aren’t any “no safe for work” videos there. Naturally it’s still worth monitoring what your children are watching and flagging any videos that you don’t feel are acceptable, but it’s still good to have “enabled” YouTube Kids.
Enjoying watching Blippi and Dave and Ava kids (… and parents).
But of course, there’s a downside. Your children can still say “Alexa, open YouTube” – or select standard YouTube from the bookmarks. And then they’re back to watching Slipknot or whatever kids watch these days.
So how can you stop this? Well, ladies and gentlemen, I have a cunning four-point plan to build back better. Sorry about my terrible American accent there. There’s four things you can do to “block” standard YouTube on your Echo Show.
Firstly, you can remove the bookmark by clicking the bookmark icon, clicking the YouTube bookmark, and pressing “Remove bookmark”. It’ll ask you to confirm your choice. This will make it harder for your children to open standard YouTube on your Echo Show, because the bookmark is no longer there, of course.
Next up, we need to stop the Echo Show from opening YouTube when someone says “Alexa, open YouTube”. This is also simple to do, via an Alexa routine in the app. So if you launch your Alexa app, click the “More” menu and then “Routines”. Press the plus icon to add a new routine. You want the trigger here to be when someone says “open YouTube”.
Next we want to “hi-jack” this, basically. So add an action, and choose “Customized”. Enter “open Silk”. Select “The device you spoke to”, and hit save. This will then open the Silk web browser, instead of YouTube, when someone says “Alexa, open YouTube”.
Score! I’m so cool.
Moving on,, it’s now harder for your children to access standard YouTube – but it’s still available in the browser history, meaning that it’ll show up in the address bar. So you’ll want to clear this, by opening Silk, then clicking the bookmarks icon, and then “Settings”. Select “Privacy and security”, and then “Clear browsing data”. After doing this, the standard YouTube won’t appear anywhere on the Echo Show.
This should be enough for most people, but if you have an Eero or similar-capability router, you could of course look to block “m.youtube.com” – to completely block access to standard YouTube. In the Eero app, you can even block “m.youtube.com” just from specific devices (such as only your Amazon Echo devices), by using profiles. I won’t cover the exact process here because it varies per router, but this could be worth exploring.
That should be all you need to do to fully enable YouTube kids, and block standard YouTube. But what happens if YouTube Kids is too slow or buggy on your Echo Show? It is on one of the two of my Echo Shows, weirdly. In this case, you will unfortunately need to go back to standard YouTube – but thankfully there ARE some steps you can take to make this safer for your children.
The first thing you’ll need to do is sign-in. This is because by default, YouTube is logged out so it can’t as easily ‘learn’ what videos to suggest. To login, click the person icon at the top, enter your email address and password, and within a few seconds you should be logged in. This process should be much smoother than the annoying YouTube Kids login process (that made me cry earlier on).
Now the video recommendations should be a bit more tailored to you or your children. You might even want to register a specific account for your children to use on YouTube, instead of them using your own one.
Next up, now that you have signed in, you can enable “Restricted Mode” which will screen out mature content. This is a crucial step. To do this, click the person icon at the top, then scroll down to “Settings”. Next, click “Account” and toggle “Restricted Mode” to be on.
Naturally there’s a warning that no filter is 100% accurate, but this should hopefully be good enough to filter out really inappropriate and ‘not safe for work’ content.
Thirdly, since you are now signed in, you should start flagging up any videos or channels that are inappropriate by clicking on the three dots next to a video or channel. At first this can be a bit repetitive, but YouTube will soon learn what sort of videos and channels you do and don’t want to see.
Fourthly, you should start actually watching children’s videos on this Echo Show. Yes I know that you probably don’t want to watch Dave and Ava for the thousandth time, but viewing videos is a really important way that YouTube learns what videos to recommend. You should only need to watch the first few seconds – so if you know that your children love certain channels, search for them and watch a few of their videos. You might also want to subscribe to those channels (just like you’re subscribed to my channel, right? RIGHT?!), since this will also help tailor the YouTube video recommendations.
The benefit of logging into YouTube on the Echo Show is that all of the settings and recommendations you have made will be stored against the account. So if you purchase another Echo Show in the future, you can sign in there too and the recommendations should be child-safe there too.
And that just about wraps up today’s video. I love my two Echo Show devices and the ease of access to YouTube is useful, but also a bit of a worry. So I hope that the tips I’ve shown in today’s video have helped you. If they have, please click the “thumbs up” button which will tell YouTube that more people should see this video. Please also subscribe to this channel, and click the bell icon – which will notify you when I release new videos. Thank you!