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Good news, parents: YouTube Kids has a screen limit setting

Want your kid to spend less time watching YouTube videos? This setting might be your new best friend.
Written by Christina Darby, Associate Editor
3 young kids watching a video on an iPad
Thanasis Zovoilis/Getty Images

The launch of YouTube Kids in 2015 gave lots of parents peace of mind when it came to their kids using the video streaming app.

But while the platform might be a more kid-friendly version of the original, it's just as easy for kids to get sucked into their screens, watching video after video. 

If you're a parent worried about your kids spending too much time scrolling through videos, YouTube Kids offers a simple solution: screen time limits. 

Setting screen limits can be a great way for your kids to digest just the right amount of fun content, and these limits are super easy to set up.

Here's how. 

Also: The 5 best parental control apps: Keep tabs on your kids | How to set maturity ratings on Netflix

How to set screen limits on YouTube Kids

1. Sign in with your YouTube Parent account

Before you set limits, make sure that you have YouTube Kids downloaded and you're signed in with your parent account credentials. 

2. Tap the lock and enter the passcode

To change any settings, you'll need to be logged in, and to tap the Lock icon on the bottom corner of any page on the app, or in the top right corner if you're using a web browser. 

Also: Did your TV streaming bill just go up again? Here's why I chose YouTube TV

You'll then be prompted to either enter your YouTube Kids account password or solve the "adult prompt" and enter a number to continue.

Screenshot of the YouTube Kids interface with a yellow box around the lock icon.

If I wanted to set up a time limit for my hypothetical child, Cici (named in honor of my childhood nickname), I'd select the lock icon after logging in. 

Screenshot by Christina Darby/ZDNET

3. Tap the timer to set a limit

After the lock is lifted, select the Timer icon. From there, use the slider bar and adjust the timer to set the amount of time you want your kid to have on the app throughout the day. 

The slide timer feature on YouTube Kids, with a red circle showing the time limit and a red arrow pointing to the "Start Timer" button.

Once you've set the limit and started the timer, your kid's YouTube watching minutes will be actively monitored and regulated. 

Screenshot by Christina Darby/ZDNET

4. Start the timer

When your time is all set, select "Start timer." Your kid will get a notification that says, "Time's Up!" when they've maxed out, and the YouTube Kids app will be locked for the rest of the day. 

Also: The 5 best tablets for kids

If you want to give them some more time, tap the Unlock button and tap "Stop Timer." (You'll need to log in and enter your credentials again, as in Step 2.) The app will remain unlocked until you actively start the timer. 


Does the regular version of YouTube have a time limit setting?

No. YouTube has yet to follow Instagram's and TikTok's protocol and build a screen limit option into its settings. Until YouTube does, you can set a YouTube screen limit by using your Android or iPhone's settings. 

What is YouTube Kids?

Launched in 2015, YouTube Kids is an app designed specifically for kids. It has a smaller content collection than the regular app and everything that is displayed in the app has gone through a vetting process that deems it "kid-appropriate." YouTube Kids also has a slew of parental features, such as screen limitation, and is ideally for preschool aged kids to early tweens. Like the original, the app is completely free, but to get more out of parent controls, make sure you've signed in to a parent account. 

Is YouTube Kids available on a Kindle Fire Tablet?

Yes, the YouTube Kids app is available for Fire Tablets, iOS and Android devices, and select smart TVs. Note, however, that it's not yet available on Roku. 

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