By in Technology

YouTube Kids app makes for a much safer place

My daughter has been obsessed with YouTube for years. When she was around 2, I introduced her to holiday videos and she was singing and dancing to Rudolph and other Christmas songs all season long. As she got older, she moved on to a variety of videos. Most recently she's become addicted to videos of people opening and playing with children's toys! AllToyCollector is her favorite. The videos actually have prompted me to buy her gifts for her birthday because I saw what she really liked from the videos.

I created playlists and "Favorites" for her, but the fact remained that it was still a little unsafe for her to be on YouTube. Even with me sitting right next to her, sometimes she would come across a video in the suggestion list that was not good for kids... such as 5 little monkeys falling off the bed and bleeding, dying.... didn't see that coming! I turned on safe search (or whatever youtube calls it) but it still brought up things I thought weren't good for her... such as an Anna and Elsa parody that involved the princesses smoking and doing other odd things. Since YouTube is aimed at older teens and adults, they didn't really have a method to block or filter out results I didn't like.

Now I am happy to announce that YouTube has released a new Kids specific App. YouTube Kids can be downloaded on your smartphone or tablet and allows kids to browse in a much safer environment. YAY! This app is pretty great with only a few things missing. The app has settings for the parents to control to set a time limit and turn search on and off. I leave search on, because the app claims to filter out content that is not kid friendly. My daughter can search by voice which is great because she can't spell these things yet. If anything inappropriate pops up, we can report it through the app.

Don't know what to watch? When the app is first open, kids are presented with large images of kid friendly videos like Sesame Street and nursery rhymes. Kids can essentially browse completely on their own (with parent nearby of course) and they don't need help finding videos. I also noticed a lot fewer ads on the pages and the videos. My daughter had already mastered YouTube, so this app was a breeze for her.

The only things I say are downsides are:

  1. No playlists / favorites. I already submitted my feedback through the app to say that playlists and favorites are needed. On YouTube I had multiple playlists for my daughter (holidays, toys, songs, etc). Now she essentially has to constantly search to find what she wants.
  2. Parental settings are too easy. Ok my daughter can't read quite yet, but my nephew and niece could both read at three and having the numbers "six zero one" spelled out would not stop them from figuring out the random password. I wish parents could set up a password themselves.
  3. Finally, I can't sign in to my youtube... which is related to 1 and 2 above. Since I can't sign in, I can't access playlists, nor set a secure password.

It is a great start and already much safer than regular YouTube. I hope they take my feedback in consideration to make the app even better :) Enjoy!

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MelissaE wrote on February 24, 2015, 9:21 PM

This is a fantastic post. I'm definitely tweeting it to my followers. I remember having little ones, but technology was still kind of new.

buzymommy wrote on February 24, 2015, 10:21 PM

Thanks :) I hope a lot of people check out this app. YouTube has so many great videos for kids, now people don't have to worry so much about what else is out there!

crowntower wrote on February 24, 2015, 11:55 PM

But I guess having a safe place for your kids to go while you are not on her side is a good start. But I hope you tube will address also the importance of security and total protection from kids. Bad movies corrupt the kids innocent and good character. God bless.