Frequently Asked Questions

What is Watchkin?

Watchkin is a site devoted to letting people have more control over their youtube viewing experience. We do the following things:

How does it work?

When someone shares a youtube video with you, just copy and paste the url into the search box above and you’ll be taken to a clean page to watch your video without all the distractions of a normal youtube page -- no videos on the side of the page or at the end of the video.

Even easier ways are to use the Auto-Redirect Addon, or the bookmarklet, as mentioned below.

Why would I use Watchkin?

Why watch videos here when you can watch them perfectly well at

Watchkin provides a more responsible viewing experience. By removing the clutter of ads and potentially offensive or obscene videos and comments, Watchkin allows families to watch their videos with their kids in a distraction free and safe environment.

Further, you can share videos with friends in a clean "watchkinized" format, with the security of knowing that they will not be framed with advertisements or other distracting or potentially offensive videos on their screens.

Watchkin is also great for people that want to be able to view their video without the lure of "just one more." Watch your video and move on with your day. But in case you have time to spare and are ready for a round of videos, you can always use the search bar to find more.

How does the Watchkinize bookmarklet work?

The Watchkinize bookmarklet button is the simplest way to get to a cleaned up version of your video page. Just drag the button below onto your bookmarks bar at the top of your browser (or in IE, right click on it and Add to Favorites), and then click on it whenever you're on a youtube video page. You'll automatically be taken to a Watchkin version of the page.

(Drag and drop this button to your bookmarks toolbar)

How does the Watchkin Auto-Redirect browser add-on work?

The Watchkin Auto-Redirect add-on is the simplest and most preferred way to go to a cleaned up version of your video page. It's slightly more complicated to get setup than the Watchkinize bookmarklet button, but has the following benefits over the bookmarklet:

Go to the Auto-Redirect Add-on Install page to get all setup.

Can I see more information about the video, like the description and number of views?

Yes you can. On each video's page, there is a bar that sits under the video title, that says "More Info". If you click on it, you'll be able to see all the typical things you're used to: the creator, number of views, date published, and description. In that same box there's also a link on the left side to flag the video if it's inappropriate.

Why do I need a user account?

You don't need a user account to use Watchkin, but creating one is free, and gives you access to extra features:

Why is "Sign in with Google" the only option for user accounts?

Much of the functionality of user accounts involves accessing Youtube data, so it is easier to just login directly with Google upfront than it is to ask for that authentication after already having setup an email/password account.

It should also be noted that by logging in through Google, your Google password is never seen or stored by Watchkin. It is a very secure method of authentication, and makes it so you don't have to remember yet another username and password. If enough people do want a typical username and password login option, however, we may be able to provide that in the future as well.

Can I use Watchkin to watch youtube playlists?

NOTE: Playlists are currently broken due to changes made by Youtube.

Yes, you can now watch saved playlists. Just go to your youtube account and click on the playlist you want to watch, and the Auto-Redirect script will automatically take you to the Watchkin page, or you can press the Watchkinize bookmarklet button to get there. If you want to watch your Watch Later playlist, which is associated with your youtube account, you need to login to Watchkin using your Google/Youtube account. This is also true for any private playlists.

If you can't get playlists to play, make sure you have the most up-to-date versions of the Watchkinize bookmarklet and/or Auto-Redirect Script (July 1, 2015).

How can I watch my Youtube Watch Later playlist?

NOTE: Playlists are currently broken due to changes made by Youtube.

Once you have a user account you can watch playlists that are private to your youtube account, including the Watch Later playlist. When logged in, you can click on the user menu in the top right corner, and select 'Play WATCH LATER Playlist'.

How can I add videos to my Youtube Watch Later playlist?

NOTE: Playlists are currently broken due to changes made by Youtube.

Once you have a user account you can add videos to your Watch Later playlist in 2 ways: 1) On a search page, you can click on the + icon on the video thumbnail. 2) On a video page, you can click on the icon that looks like a clock in the top right corner of the video. And you can always add them normally through youtube's website, as well.

What is Watchkin Smart Mode filtering?

Watchkin Smart Mode filters search results more selectively than youtube, but at the same time it has less over-blocking problems (blocking videos that don't need to be blocked for any reason). It has 2 components: 1) Our own keyword-based filtering, and 2) User input, which allows users to flag videos as being inappropriate. The user input is "crowdsourced", however, so a single person can't decide a video's fate.

How should I determine if a video is appropriate or not?

The idea is to make a safe environment for families to watch videos, so have that in mind when judging a video's appropriateness. Everyone's barometer on this is a little different, and that is why the process is crowd-sourced and not reliant on only one user's judgement, but here are some guidelines. Videos should be considered inappropriate if they contain:

You should not flag the video as inappropriate if you don't agree with the political views, you're hungry or tired, your cat hisses at the screen, or you are just having a bad day.

Can I flag an already appropriate video as even more appropriate?

Sure. If you find a video that not only passes the criteria for being appropriate, but is a noteworthy example of a family friendly video, please do mark it as Appropriate. We'll use that information to let people know about great videos they can watch together as a family.

Why do some inappropriate videos still show up in Watchkin Smart Mode?

This is an inherent issue with computer-based filtering, and will be an issue for the forseeable future until software algorithms can be as intelligent as humans. And even then, everyone has slightly different preferences on what is appropriate, so computers will also have to be able to learn our personal preferences. Currently we only take into account the text that goes with the video, so if the video has visual or audio elements that are inappropriate, the algorithm won't automatically pick that up. That's where user input comes in, to help steer the filtering based on human intelligence.

If you find a video that is obviously inappropriate, please flag it as such (in the More Info dropdown section on a video's page), and if you see a particular category or trend of things that aren't getting filtered out, please let us know so we can improve it.

Why is my video being blocked?

There are actually 2 different reasons this could be happening, usually:

Can I email with suggestions or questions?

We'd love to get feedback and suggestions, and want to hear about any issues you come across. Just go to our Contact page to send us an email.

How can I support

One way to help is to share Watchkin with your friends and family. Next time you have a new crazy cat video to share with someone, consider sending them a url.

You can also make a donation through paypal here: