I have to admit that I’m a little late to the party with this one but if, like me, you’ve been slow out of the blocks, allow me to introduce you to YouTube Kids! It’s the first ever product that Google has developed specifically for children and should give parents peace of mind that their little ones are only watching content that’s appropriate to their age group.
I can’t express enough how happy I am that YouTube Kids has been launched. Last year – before it was out – I had one particular heart-in-mouth moment when Dylan and Xander asked to watch videos on YouTube. You see, I’m more than a little obsessed with The Walking Dead and often watch geeky videos analysing scenes from it.
When I logged into my YouTube account, I was greeted with a screen full of suggested videos involving several featuring zombies or Rick Grimes with his gun pointing at an off-screen enemy. Oh dear! I’m happy to report that they didn’t see anything – I quickly pretended that there was something amazing outside the window – but they could have done so this new development is very welcome.
Indeed, YouTube Kids has been designed to work as a logged-out experience, so the only suggestions that kids will see will be ones that are relevant to their age bracket. Parents retain control too; upon setting up the app, you can determine the age group your children are in as well as disabling the search facility.
The content on offer includes several UK favourites such as Postman Pat and Shaun the Sheep and is divided into sections including shows, music and learning. It’s all very intuitive and I didn’t need to explain anything to Dylan and Xander who were soon navigating through the app and watching videos.
In the unlikely event that there’s any content you don’t approve of, you can flag it. While it’s tempting to do this with Peppa Pig, I have to concede that it still keeps both boys quiet on occasion, so I’ll leave her be for now! Another useful feature is a timer to limit kids’ screen time – a great solution to a problem parents are all too familiar with.
To help get even more out of the new app, YouTube Kids kindly sent me a Google Chromecast. For the unversed, this is a device that enables you to broadcast content from your phone or tablet to a television. It was quick and easy to set up and has proved really useful. Although we have a ridiculous number of TV channels, you can guarantee that the boys won’t want to watch any of them, so having an app they can control things with has made a difference.
I’ve been really impressed with what I’ve seen so far and am confident that my children are enjoying watching videos safely.