10M downloads in, Google takes YouTube Kids app international with launch in …

18 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

10M downloads in, Google takes YouTube Kids app international with launch in UK and Ireland.

YouTube has launched its family friendly video app YouTube Kids in Ireland, with content from Irish creators alongside established favourites such as Peppa Pig and The Magic Roundabout. It’s designed to give parents an easier time when deciding what their kids should watch, and aims to be free of potentially adult-orientated programming.

The app has been downloaded more than 10 million times in the U.S., and although it has been generally well received, there have been concerns in the past around the type of ads and videos the service throws up. It’s had some tweaks in design, with larger icons and voice search to help navigate. “We’ve built the YouTube Kids app to be a safer version of YouTube, a family-friendly place for kids to explore their imagination and curiosity,” the company’s head of kids and learning partnerships, said in a blog post.

A few months after launch, two consumer groups noted: “Google is deceiving parents by marketing YouTube Kids as a safe place for children under five to explore when, in reality, the app is rife with videos that would not meet anyone’s definition of ‘family friendly.’” Among the example videos they found were a Budweiser beer advertisement, a guide to red wine, and a demonstration of how to light a match and use it to set a pile of matches on fire. Parents can deactivate the search function in the app so all the kid can see is the videos that are on the home screen, which are recommended by YouTube. We say “shouldn’t” because YouTube warns that the content is algorithm-based rather than curated and so there may be lapses that users should then flag.

YouTube Kids contains content from kid-friendly YouTubers like SevenSuperGirls and Stampy Longhead, cartoons such as Morph, Chuggington and Octonauts, how-to guides from Mister Maker, and even documentaries from National Geographic. Based on our brief tests, there is plenty of content on YouTube Kids that isn’t specifically aimed at kids, including cooking demonstrations, how-to guides for lighting fireplaces, and tech product reviews, but we didn’t find anything that would be particularly offensive to children. You can set a timer that ticks down and when the counter hits zero, that’s it; there’s no more bargaining about watching one more video because the one more video they watched was too short. The app offers a timer mode that lets parents stipulate when videos will stop playing, and parents can also set passcodes to prevent kids accessing the settings area of the app.

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