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YouTube Launch Kids App

Child Friendly Viewing

Google have recently announced a new addition to the YouTube family with the launch of ‘YouTube Kids’, an app aimed at creating a safer viewing environment for children. The new app went live in the US on android phones on 23rd February, with plans for release on other platforms and in the UK soon.


The Kids app basically offers a limited version of YouTube, with only select channels verified as child friendly being available. The content will be provided by popular children’s shows such as Sesame Street, Reading Rainbow and Thomas the Tank Engine, among many more. In addition, LeVar Burton, who gained fame for his involvement in Reading Rainbow, has plans to create an exclusive new series on YouTube Kids called uTech, which will focus on next generation technologies.

To give parents an extra measure of control, the app includes a timer to limit viewing time. After the set allotted time the app will close and demand a password to reactivate, thus allowing parents to keep a tight control over just how long their child spends staring at his tablet. Comments are also disabled to protect children from the inevitable barrage of abuse, profanities and religious debate that somehow seem to clog up every single comments section on the site.


The user interface has been tweaked to make it more accessible to young children, with the toolbar gone and replaced by just five large icons to filter results. Viewers can choose between kids shows, music videos or educational programming, as well as an explore option that displays the most popular videos, and of course an integrated search engine to filter results more specifically. The search option includes voice commands for children not yet able to write, and any attempt to search a curse word will be disallowed displaying the message ‘Try Something Else’.

According to Google project manager Shimrit Ben-Yair the app’s release follows countless requests from parents to make YouTube safer: 

"Parents were constantly asking us, can you make YouTube a better place for our kids. We've seen 50% growth year over year in viewing time on YouTube, but for our family entertainment channels, it's more like 200%."

The move has been endorsed by the NSPCC and other children’s charities. A representative for the organisation commented on the launch:

"Keeping children safe online is the biggest child protection challenge of this generation. So it's good to hear about the launch of YouTube Kids. I'm sure it will be embraced by parents wanting increased reassurance that their younger children won't be exposed to inappropriate material."

The universal reaction to the announcement seems overwhelmingly positive, and the new app looks set to have massive global success. Child safety is a rising concern when it comes to online activity, and it’s good to see a company try to do something to tackle the issue head on.

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. Currently working part time as a content writer, he hopes to one day drop that 'aspiring' prefix. Follow him @SamAtSMF

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YouTube Launch Kids App Reviewed by Unknown on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 Rating: 5
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