A new YouTube Kids app offers a kid-friendly way to use YouTube with better kid focused content and parental controls. For parents who already let kids use the regular app to watch videos on YouTube, this is an exciting addition to their home screen. Here are five things parents need to know about the YouTube kids app.
The current YouTube app is designed for users 13-years or older, but the YouTube Kids app would target younger children with age-appropriate videos and a new design that is easier for children to navigate.
We’ll know more information when Google, who owns YouTube, makes an announcement in late February. Here is the most important information parents need to know about the YouTube Kids app today.
YouTube Kids Release
The YouTube Kids release arrives on Monday February 23rd for Android devices. A YouTube executive will announce the app at the Kidscreen Summit.
Many Android tablets offer kid mode options that will let parents restrict access to a specific app, like YouTube Kids so that children don’t leave the app and find another less appropriate app.
The image above shows what the YouTube Kids app will look like, with a kid-friendly navigation as well as content.
YouTube Kids iPad App MIA
There is no YouTube Kids iPad app at this time. A Google spokesperson told Kidscreen, “the company will continue to expand the app to other platforms.” This is good news, but you can count on at least a short wait. The iPad does not have a built-in kid’s mode. There is also no talk about a version for Windows or Amazon Fire tablets.
YouTube for Kids Content & Ads
The YouTube Kids app will split the content into four main sections and will include popular YouTube channels like Stampylonghead and Vlogbrothers. The four sections are shows, music, learning and explore. You can see these in the YouTube Kids screenshot at the top of this article. Other YouTube Kids content includes;
- Sesame Workshop
- HIT Entertainment
- Jim Henson TV
- Dreamworks TV
- Sid the Science Kid
- Fraggle Rock
- Mother Goose Club
- National Geographic Kids
- Talking Tom and Friends
- Reading Rainbow uTech – a kid-friendly tech show
- Bob the Builder
- Thomas & Friends
- and more
We expect to see the list grow as the app appears and more information arrises. It is not clear how YouTube Kids ads will work. There are more restrictive guidelines on collecting information in apps aimed at children, but The Wall Street Journal reports that advertisers are eager to find a way to reach kids.
Levar Burton, host or Reading Rainbow shared excitement for the app in a statement, “At a time when a child’s access to media can be overwhelming and filled with empty calories, I’m excited that YouTube Kids is making this commitment to give families a safe environment to spark curiosity while still entertaining.”
YouTube Kids is Free
The YouTube Kids app is free for kids to use and for parents to download. There will not be in-app purchases as part of the service. Amazon offers a FreeTime Unlimited service for $2.99 a month that offers access to books, movies, TV Shows, educational apps and games.
That option is only available on the Amazon Fire tablets, so it is not a direct competitor for the YouTube Kids app.
YouTube Kids App Offers Parental Controls
Even if the Android tablet doesn’t offer support for parental controls built-in, the YouTube Kids app will let parents set time and other restrictions. At least one option will let parents set a timer for how long children can use the YouTube kids app. There may be other restrictions available inside the app, including time of day and content.