Changes to YouTube Kids
In response to concerns over some inappropriate content appearing on the YouTube Kids site, YouTube has made key changes to increase parental choice and control.
YouTube Kids launched in the UK in 2015. It is a standalone app aimed at delivering suitable, age-appropriate, content to children. Essentially, it is a filtered subsection of YouTube’s greater body of videos, which allows users to select limitations on how, and where, children find videos to watch. You cannot upload videos to YouTube Kids. Instead, the content that appears on the app is predominantly filtered by computer algorithm. However, videos featuring inappropriate content, designed to appear child-friendly, have been reported to have slipped through these algorithms, prompting YouTube to design some parental filter option changes to the platform.
What are the 3 key changes?
- Collections: YouTube Kids will now include ‘collections’. These will be groups of videos on a variety of subjects, curated and provided by YouTube and its trusted partners. These range from entertainment such as Kidz Bop and Sesame Street to empowering options such as the Geena Davis Institute's Strong Female Characters collection, as well as YouTube Kids' own selections of videos covering learning, music, science and more. These will allow parents to define more clearly the types of content children can view. This feature can currently be accessed through ‘Profile Settings’. See our YouTube Kids Parent Guide for more details.
- Parent-approved content: This soon-to-be released feature offers an even greater step in parental control than ‘collections’. This feature will only allow content, whether a video or a channel, chosen by the parent themselves to be available to their children through the YouTube Kids app.
- Improved “Turn Search Off” function: YouTube Kids has always offered parents the option of turning off the search function in app. However, until now, this still allowed all videos from the YouTube Kids corpus to appear on children’s recommended videos list. Now, whilst the search function is turned off, only those videos approved by the YouTube Kids team themselves will appear on a child’s recommended list.
YouTube Kids’ other parental controls
Adults can to make several changes to the experience offered to each of their children, through a password-protected Google account. This includes:
- A timer that limits screen time by disabling the app once a session, whose length has been determined by a parent, ends.
- The ability to turn the search function off.
- The ability to clear watch and search history, resetting the videos that appear under the “Recommendations” and “Watch it again” sections.
- The ability to pause watch and search history so that videos your child watches, or terms that they search for, will not influence what appears in the “Recommendations” and “Watch it again” sections.
Image: YouTube Kids logo, YouTube