Today I found out about two brand new features on the Youtube app for 2020: break reminders and bedtime reminders - both really useful for those with kids who watch Youtube close to bedtime or those that are worried that their kids are watching for too long without a break. These reminders are now available on Apple and Android phones but only Android tablets and will be being made available on other devices soon.
If you worry about how to get the kids to sleep right after a Youtube session, you could try setting a reminder so that they can get off Youtube and take a break from the screen before it's bedtime. Otherwise you can set the bedtime reminder to let your child know when it's time to switch off for bedtime.
I tried the new features out on my iPhone, as you can see in the video above which I made to show how to set up a bedtime reminder and a break reminder on the Youtube app.
Setting a break reminder on the Youtube app
When you set a break reminder on the Youtube app, you have to select how often you'd like your child to be reminded to take a break. When it's time for a reminder, the notification message pops up from the bottom of the screen (the same way regardless of how your video was oriented) and the video pauses.
Based on the 20-20-20 rule, which I posted about recently, your kids' eye health will benefit from a break every 20 minutes when they should spend at least 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet away. If you set the break reminder to 20 minutes, Youtube will remind your child to take a break after 20 minutes of video viewing has passed when they could have a quick break to get up and look out of the window.
Setting a bedtime reminder on the Youtube app
When you set up a bedtime reminder Youtube will ask for a start and finish time. The start time should be set to the time you want your child to be reminded to stop watching videos and the end time will be the time you want your child to start being able to watch videos again without reminders - probably sometime in the morning.
You can choose if you'd rather the alert show up at the exact time you have set (even if your child is in the middle of a video) or for the alert to pop up as soon as the video they're watching ends.
As you can see, kids will have the option to Dismiss or Snooze the alert. Tapping dismiss will end the alerts whereas pressing Snooze will give them another ten minutes to watch before reminding them about bedtime again.
What happens if they dismiss the bedtime alert and keep watching?
Of course we know that most kids will just press Dismiss and have forgotten about bedtime within 2 seconds. I tested it out to see what happens if you Dismiss your bedtime reminder and found that your video continues to play but you get reoccuring reminders that it's bedtime until after the end time that you set passes. I can imagine that for some children this reminder will soon become something they just dismiss and ignore in favour of continuing to watch videos, so it might take some discussions and agreements with your kids to get them to make use of the bedtime reminder successfully.
As with any kind of rule you want to introduce to your kids, getting them involved in a the rule-setting process will make them much keener to comply than if you make the decisions for them and impose your rules on them instead. You can also try explaining exactly how Youtube bedtime reminders or break reminders might be good for their health and well-being and what benefits it might have for them in their day-to-day lives.
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