The child-friendly version of YouTube is available as a free app on iOS, and I’m virtually high fiving the developers for giving our kids a platform with above-board content, and giving us less of a reason to worry that our young kids will accidentally tap violent or explicit videos. first announced last week, is here.
Available on the App Store, YouTube Kids is suited to toddlers and preschoolers, but it has some how-to and educational videos that can be enjoyed by older kids.
Before getting started, parents can set a viewing time limit, and do other basics like take off sound effects and background music. There’s also an option to disable the search bar, which means kids can only access content that’s on the home page.
The app is easy to navigate – there are minimal buttons, and once tapped, the videos appear in full screen. Kids can choose from four main categories – shows, music, learning and explore.
There’s a massive range of channels and playlists, and kids can watch anything from puppy and cat videos to Talking Tom and Friends and nursery rhyme shows.
There’s also a search bar and after typing in “planes” as per my son’s request, we got video options from Disney, LEGO, Kidsongs and more. I tried searching for terms such as “kill” and “sh*t”, and there were no results. I also searched for potentially explicit terms such as “blood”, “poo” and “die”, which yielded results, but they were still of the acceptable variety (eg how to make play dough that looks like poo, and Sesame Street – The Blood Test).
With a massive variety of safe-to-access education, infotainment and entertainment, I think YouTube Kids is as much of a win for kids as it is for parents. No one is saying you should let your child watch YouTube for hours on end without a second glance, but if you have given the green light to videos, then this app is a must.