Culture

Finally: Google Just Unveiled a YouTube Kids App

Google has finally introduced an app version of YouTube that’s meant just for kids. The YouTube Kids app limits a child’s access to inappropriate material on YouTube and brings a sigh of relief to parents around the world. As any parent of an eight-year-old can tell you, it’s easy for children to learn to use YouTube, and to search for things that interest them. I have seen dozens of children watching Minecraft videos on YouTube, for example, and have had to intervene on many occasions when my son has stumbled upon Minecraft videos that are clearly meant more for young adults than young children.

YouTube Kids App Is Easy To Set Up

Once you download and open it, the YouTube Kids app prompts you to enter four numbers (it assumes that only parents would know to do this, though my son had no trouble doing it himself) in order to verify that you are an adult. You can then adjust some of the setting on the app, such as the background music, the sound effects, and the option to search for more content. Perhaps one of the best settings you can adjust, however, is the timer, which you can set for anywhere from 1 to 120 minutes. That timer is perfect for moments in which children want to share a device or when you might want to negotiate a bit on how much screen time a child might get in exchange for completing a task.

No More Inappropriate Minecraft Videos for Children

Once the app is running, you or your child can select from a set of Shows, Music or  Learning videos. If you have enabled the search feature, you or your child will also be able to search for additional child-friendly content. I was relieved to find that, when searching for Minecraft, the app returned videos that were actually age appropriate for my son.

The Internet and the World Wide Web present us with a strange form of quicksand that seems all too ready to swallow the innocence of our children. That easy access to online content, whether it’s through a computer, a tablet, a smartphone or even a TV, means that we have to be incessantly vigilant as parents in order to protect our children from content that is well beyond their understanding – or even just beyond their ability to filter properly. The YouTube Kids apps is a welcome addition to my phone and tablet since the truth is, no matter how vigilant I want to be about what my children see online when using YouTube, it only takes an instant for them to stumbled upon content that is just not right for them – especially given the way that YouTube seems to recommend very inappropriate content at times.

You can download the YouTube Kids app via iTunes or the Google Play Store. You can read more about the app at the Google Blog.