Most kids are mesmerized by the millions of videos available on YouTube. This includes everything from the latest Elmo video to the bizarre kid-friendly “The Engineering Family” channel. Problem is, not everything on YouTube is kid friendly and most parents know that it only takes a few mis-taps for kids to end up on the not-so-savory side of YouTube. Google just released YouTube Kids. It’s a YouTube app designed to give kids the videos they want and provide parents with the control they have wished for.
The main screen is simple with big buttons designed for little fingers. You’ll find 4 cateogories including Shows, Music, Learning and Explore. These categories provide pre-sorted content just for kids. There is also a search icon in the upper right hand corner that will search kid-appropriate content. The search option can be disabled by parents in the settings if you prefer to keep your kids within the walled garden.
The app won’t let you access the settings unless you can read 4 numbers (spelled out) and type them in. It basically keeps kids 6 and under out of the settings. Inside you’ll find a few basic settings along with a timer to help parents control their kid’s YouTube time.
YouTube says they built the app from the “ground up” and I could tell. The interface is nothing like the standard YouTube app. It’s clearly designed specifically with kids in mind. I handed it over to my 4-year-old and she picked it up within seconds. It’s easy, simple and fun. It’s exactly what a YouTube app for kids should be.
Thank you YouTube! As a parent of a 4 and 6 year-old I have been waiting for an app like this. It’s a great way for me to hand my phone to my daughter and let her watch her goofy videos without having to worry. On top of that, it helps me set limits. I would like to see an option to lock access so that my kid can’t hit the home button and load up Angry Birds. Hopefully that’s coming next.