Staying safe on YouTube

YouTube is used by millions of people every day. Find out how to make the most of their privacy and security features.

Written by spunout


YouTube is the most popular video site on the Internet, and it is the second-largest search engine in the world after Google. People use YouTube for all sorts of things – to be entertained, to listen to music, to get information, to learn how to do something. 

Being on YouTube can mean interacting with millions of other users from around the world, and it helps to have an understanding of the privacy and safety settings on YouTube, whether you’re uploading videos or simply watching.

Protecting your privacy on YouTube

Whether you’re uploading videos or simply watching things on YouTube, there are a few things to consider when it comes to your privacy.

Privacy settings on YouTube videos

When you’re posting your own videos on YouTube, you have a couple of different privacy options. By default, the video will be public, meaning it will be viewable and searchable to anyone on YouTube. However, you can change this easily to either private or unlisted.

If a video is private, this means that only you and other YouTube users who you select can see the video. Managers of the Youtube channel can see the video as well. If a video is unlisted, it means anyone who has the link can view the video, but it will not turn up in YouTube’s search results or suggested videos. Anyone can still embed a video when it is unlisted.

Someone has posted personal information about you without your consent

If someone posts videos of you or information about you that you don’t want on YouTube, there are a couple of steps to take:

  • Get in touch with the person who uploaded it and ask them to remove it.
  • If they refuse to do so, or if you don’t feel comfortable contacting them, you can request its removal from YouTube. You can do that here.
  • If you feel you are in physical danger, contact the Gardai.

General privacy tips

  • Be careful about posting personal information, such as where you live, where you go to school, or your phone number. Be careful not to give away this information in your video by accident.
  • Never ever share your password with anyone else.
  • Always ask permission before filming someone else and posting it online.

Reporting hate speech or harassment

YouTube takes hate speech pretty seriously. Hate speech is content that targets or attacks groups of people on the basis of their race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender. Similarly, harassment or bullying is totally unacceptable. If you come across any such content, you can report it to YouTube.

above the video description and select ‘report’. If the user is consistently posting hate speech or harassment, you can submit a more detailed report here.

Blocking someone on YouTube

Blocking someone will prevent them from making comments on your videos or contacting you through private message. To do this:

  • Go to their YouTube channel by clicking on their username.
  • Go to the “About” tab, and click the flag icon.
  • Click Block User.

Controlling what you see on YouTube

There are a few things you can do to control what comes up when you open YouTube


Subscribing to channels lets you keep up to date with the latest videos from that channel. Find out how to manage your subscriptions and get some things to keep in mind here:

Enabling Restricted Mode

Restricted Mode is a YouTube feature that blocks certain content, such as violence or nudity. If you’d prefer not to see this kind of content, you can turn on Restricted Mode. Find out how to enable restricted mode.

Comment settings on YouTube

There are a number of ways you can manage comments on YouTube.

Moderating comments on your videos

If you’re posting your own content to YouTube, you can select whether or not other users can leave comments on it. It’s your channel, so you get to decide if comments are allowed, and what comments can stay. 

You can choose whether or not to allow comments in the video settings.

Deleting or reporting a comment

To take action on a comment, click the arrow in the upper right of the comment to see your options:

  • Remove: This will remove the comment from YouTube, as well as any replies to it, if it is your video.
  • Report spam or abuse: This will alert YouTube, who will take due action if the comment is spam or abusive.
  • Ban from channel: This will prevent the user from posting comments on your videos again.

Managing comments you have left on videos

When commenting on YouTube videos, try to be mindful of the person you’re directing your comment to and how it would make them feel.

It you want, you can view and delete comments you have left on videos while logged into your account. Find out how to view and delete your YouTube comments here.

Hiding videos or deleting your channel

If you want to take your videos or channel down from YouTube, you can choose to either temporarily hide your channel, which will hide your videos. If you decide to permanently delete your channel, everything will be gone forever. You can download your videos first.

Find out more about this here:

Looking after your wellbeing on YouTube

It can be easy to let a lot of time go past while watching videos on YouTube. If you think you’re spending too much time watching videos, or YouTube is affecting your mental health, consider making time for a digital detox.

Here are some videos from YouTube to help you cut back on the amount of time you spend on the site:

Need more information, advice or guidance?

We offer information, advice and guidance about the issues that matter to you. Our online Youth Information Chat service is for 16 to 25 year olds and is available Monday to Friday, 4pm to 8pm (excluding Bank Holidays).

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