Both my sons watch YouTube videos regularly. My five-year-old Philip loves to watch DIY arts and crafts, origami tutorials, and Asphalt 8 videos, whereas his younger brother loves to watch the Super Simple Songs channel.
The single parental control I use is allowing them to watch these YouTube videos only when I’m around. Thankfully, Google has released a new YouTube Kids app that is designed with a simple design and age-appropriate videos.
Watch Curated and Filtered YouTube Contents
The new YouTube Kids categorizes its content into five sections: Recommended, Shows, Music, Learning, and Explore. Each section contains filtered YouTube contents that can be watched without having to register or login. Comments are also hidden in this app.
The Shows section includes popular TV series, such as Sesame Street, Thomas & Friends, Pocoyo, Talking Tom and Friends, The FuZees, Jim Henson Family TV, and more. The Music section includes videos from Mother Goose Club, KIDZ BOP Kids, Super Simple Songs, The Piano Guys, Little Baby Bum, Pancake Manor, and more. You can find curated educational videos under the Learning section, including videos from PBS KIDS, TEDEd, Speakaboos, Cool School, Hoopla Kidz Lab, Khan Academy, and more.
To round things up, you can find official videos from LEGO, Minecraft videos from Stampy, and other fun channels such as Art for Kids Hub, Fun2Draw, Evan Tube, Rosanna Pansino, and more. Once you have watched a couple of videos, the Recommended section will show kid-friendly video recommendations that you might find interesting.
Navigation, whether you are on the channel or the video page, is simple: swipe left or right to reveal more videos. The navigation is also consistent throughout the app, which makes it easy for kids.
It should be noted that the app includes playlists as well. They are displayed as stack of cards alongside the other videos in a channel. In playlists, videos are played automatically one after another.
Parents Need to Know
At the time I’m writing this, the new YouTube Kids app is available only on the US App Store. As expected from Google, the app is free and supported by ads. Google mentioned that the ads will be screened considering the nature of the audience. I’ve been using the app for the past few days, but I haven’t seen any ads yet.
What I like about the app is that it helps me to exert controls over the YouTube contents consumed by my children. Google mentioned that they are operating the app under strict compliance to COPPA.
My only complaint is on the way Google implements the parental lock. It’s too easy to open by my three-year-old who knows how to read words that represent digits. Google should learn from other apps that have better parental locks.
Things I Like
The YouTube Kids app has helped me discover new YouTube contents that are appropriate for my sons. For example, Philip and I used the search feature to find documentary and DIY scientific experiment videos to aid him as he learned about volcanic eruption in school this week. We even tried the voice search feature, which I thought was quite accurate.
With this app’s existence, I can block access to YouTube from Safari on our iPads and have my kids use the app instead. To do this, open the Settings.app, go to General > Restrictions > Websites. Set the “Limit Adult Content” to Yes, and add “www.youtube.com” and “m.youtube.com” in the Never Allow list.
If you want to exert more parental controls, you can disable the search feature and set up a time limit for each session. If you have some feedback, you can submit your feedback directly from within the app.
YouTube Kids is a great way for kids to enjoy YouTube contents that are suitable for their age. Even though Google curates the channels, you can still find other contents through keyword-based search and the Recommended section. If you’re looking for a good way to have parental controls over YouTube contents, this is a suitable app.