YouTube Kids App Guide for Parents

Kids are generating billions of video views on the online video service, but it’s raising some talking points for parents. YouTube, in particular, has emerged as an alternative to traditional children’s TV – although it’s probably more accurate to say that the two are merging: plenty of popular children’s TV shows are now on YouTube in some form, while to young viewers – many on tablets – it’s all just “video”.

YouTube Kids app that was launched three years ago was to give kids around the world a place to access videos that were enriching, engaging and allowed them to explore their endless interests.

What is YouTube Kids?

YouTube Kids is an app specifically designed for kids, makes it easier for children and parents to find content they are interested in. The child-friendly video sharing app is free to download for Android and iOS. YouTube Kids is currently used in 37 countries.

YouTube Kids Interface

What type of videos are on YouTube Kids?

YouTube Kids limits the world of content on the service to curated, family-friendly videos, channels like PBS Kids, and educational clips from Khan Academy, and includes such titles as Thomas the Tank Engine, Reading Rainbow, and National Geographic Kids. To reel in its target audience, the app’s interface features large images, colorful icons and carefully curated launch videos on the main homepage. There are four sections—Shows, Music, Learning and Explore—to explore within the app.

Is YouTube Kids safe?

YouTube Kids is mostly safe with a wealth of excellent, family friendly content from fun tips and tricks about school, to educational channels, music, creative pursuits, and any number of interesting ways to waste time. But, there is also a small chance kids could see nudity, violence, or just weird stuff, as well as ads for stuff like junk food which you wouldn’t want your child exposed. If you can’t sit and watch the content with your child, then one option is to use the Safety mode. This will at least filter out a fair amount of inappropriate content, but it’s not a fool-proof option. YouTube offers fair warning that kids may see something that you don’t want them to see and you can block and report inappropriate videos.

Are there ads on YouTube Kids?

YouTube Kids does carry advertising. YouTube says it is carefully screened to bar ads that aren’t child-friendly. If parents sign up for a YouTube Red subscription, there are no ads, and kids can watch offline.

Getting Started

Parental setup is required to ensure the best experience possible for your child. The app doesn’t require a sign-in or Google account. Once the app is downloaded, YouTube will ask parents/adults to insert a code to ensure you are an adult, it will then check what settings you would like to use.

How do I set parental controls on YouTube Kids?

Two settings can be controlled by parents, how long a child may use the app, and whether a child can freely search for videos.

  1. Once you’re past the app’s security, you can implement two different controls. The first is the timer (Set a timer) which limits how long a child can watch videos. You can set it as high as 120 minutes. When the timer expires, the app will immediately block the video player and all suggested videos.
  2. The second control that can be applied lets you prevent kids from searching for videos and limits them to viewing only those that are suggested on the app’s home screen. Additionally, you can also turn off the annoying sound effects the app makes as well as the background music.

Parental Controls YouTube Kids

How do I set content filters on YouTube Kids?

When you first open the YouTube Kids app, you’ll be asked what age level of videos your child enjoys (Nursery-school age, School age and All kids)

YouTube Kids doesn’t offer content filters. To limit what your kids can view, you can use the parental controls to allow only verified content or videos from a kid-friendly content partner. Otherwise, the app aims to show “younger” or “older” videos based on the user’s age, what you’ve watched, and terms you’ve searched for. If there’s something you definitely don’t want your kids to see, you’ll have to block those videos when they come up.

How do you set up profiles in YouTube Kids?

When parents sign in through their Google account, they can create different profiles for their kids. The profiles will allow personalized content recommended to kids based on viewing habits to travel across multiple devices. Kids’ profiles will include fun icons to offer more personalization, and passcodes to keep away nosy siblings. However, the passcodes don’t prevent parents from keeping track of what their kids watch.   Along with customizable profiles, the app for Android and iOS will include a fresh, more kid-friendly look that will adapt depending on the child’s age.

Create Child Profile YouTube Kids

What age is YouTube Kids for?

While YouTube have indicates in the app store it is suitable for 4 and older, Educational App Store recommends mainly for children aged 6 and older.

Why does YouTube Kids have disturbing videos?

You may have heard about or seen some videos that look like they’re for kids but are clearly not. These videos may use familiar characters from kids’ TV shows, such as Caillou or Peppa Pig, or they may use cartoon graphics such as cars and trucks. The videos have seemingly kid-friendly titles and begin normally, but then become strange and even extremely disturbing. Whoever creates these videos — which have been termed YouTube Poop — has figured out how to use tags (the code that helps Google categorize content) to fool the algorithm. Disturbing videos are more common on the main YouTube channel, and YouTube is aware of the problem and trying to remedy it with more human monitors. But there’s a possibility disturbing videos could pop up in the kid’s app, especially if you allow your kids to search.

What is YouTube doing to make the app safer for kids?

YouTube Kids has made a series of improvements, making it a safer experience for young children. Parents can now choose collections of programmes created by YouTube Kids and trusted third party partners. YouTube Kids has also made improvements to the ‘search-off’ feature in order to offer a more contained experience. They are rolling out three new options in YouTube Kids:

  1. Collections by trusted partners and YouTube Kids
  2. Parent approved content
  3. Improved search-off control for an even more contained experience

You can read more about the new features here.

What can I do if my kid sees disturbing content?

As with any media product that contains user-generated content, it’s wise to supervise closely and watch together when you can. If you or your child come across any inappropriate content you can flag it in the same was you would on the original YouTube app.

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