Each of my kids have been addicted to YouTube and YouTube videos beginning at age 6, but as a parent I am always concerned that they could easily navigate away from family-friendly cartoons and mine-craft play and onto the more nefarious and R-rated content that can be found freely on the social media video sharing site.
Good news! Google has built, from the ground up, the first ever YouTube Kids app for kids ages 2-8. It’s available for FREE in the Google Play and Apple Store in the United States now.
The app features a fun, bright and playful design and is packed and pre-loaded with age-appropriate videos, channels and playlists. To add an educational component, there is also a focus on early literacy. The icons are larger, bolder and brighter to appeal to young audiences.
And parents remain in control with its parental control options:
o Timer: Let the app be the bad guy with a built-in timer that limits kids’ screen time. The app alerts them when the session is over so you don’t have to.
o Sound Settings: Parents have an option to turn off background music and sound effects, so your kids can keep watching quietly while you catch up on chores or simply take a break in peace.
o Search Settings: If you’d rather limit your children to just the pre-selected videos available on the home screen, you can turn off the search feature.
o Product feedback: The goal is to continuously improve YouTube Kids App, so there’s also a space for you to give YouTube your feedback.
Sweet! The app has different categories, depending on the interest of each kid in your family. I have a nature and animal lover, a tech kid and a pony and little figurine fan.
Among the favorites are: Jim Henson TV, Mother Goose Club, Talking Tom and Friends, National Geographic Kids, Reading Rainbow and Thomas the Tank Engine, and discover new videos coming soon from beloved YouTubers like the Vlogbrothers and Stampylonghead.
It was great to see that a non-profit watchdog group I know and love has also approved and highly recommends it!
Common Sense Media said, the app is “an exceptionally fun way for kids to browse online videos and for adults to guide their viewing.”
“It’s a serious contender as a family’s go-to way for kids to watch videos online,” according to the non-profit organization which provides education and advocacy to families to promote safe technology and media for children. “There’s something for everyone on YouTube Kids. Toddlers to big kids will be able to find a show, some music, or some educational content that fits their interests.”
Check it out, friends! Here is a promo vid: