Since its launch in 2015, YouTube Kids has been a place for the younger set to get access to educational and entertaining videos that are age-appropriate, without parents needing to worry so much about them navigating the content on their own. However, YouTube ran into a couple of filtering issues, and some violent and profane content definitely not intended for children but masked as such slipped through the cracks. Because of this, the video platform has decided to make a few changes to gain parents' trust back and ensure that YouTube can be a safe place for kids to browse on their devices.
"At YouTube Kids we believe every family is unique so we've worked hard to build personalization features into our platform," says James Beser, product director for YouTube Kids. "Kids love the recommended videos in the app — and parents have told us they are also interested in more ways to personalize the app for their specific style. Throughout this year we'll roll out a more robust suite of tools for parents to customize the YouTube Kids experience."
Here's a peek at the three new features that will be available to parents to help them further customize the way their children use the platform:
- Collections by trusted partners and YouTube Kids. Parents will be able to select and deselect collections of trusted channels on a variety of subjects and from a number of partners, such as PBS Kids.
- Parent-approved content. This feature, rolling out later this year, will allow parents to handpick particular videos and channels for their kids to have access to.
- Improved search-off control for an even more contained experience. Although turning search off has always been an option for parents within the YouTube Kids settings, this feature being turned on will now exclude broader recommendations from beyond YouTube Kids-approved channels.
And for parents who would like to allow their children to keep using YouTube Kids as is, never fear: there's an option for that.
"While no system is perfect, we continue to fine-tune, rigorously test and improve our filters for this more open version of our app," reads the official YouTube blog. "And, as always, we encourage parents to block and flag videos for review that they don't think should be in the YouTube Kids app. This makes YouTube Kids better for everyone."