YouTube is taking some extra steps to give parents more control over what their children watch.
The biggest update, which YouTube first introduced in April, is the rollout of parent-approved content. Android users around the world can handpick every video or channel their child is allowed to view through the YouTube Kids app (this ability is forthcoming soon to users on iOS devices).
Now, with a single settings change — simply click “approved content only” on each child’s profile — parents can make sure their children only watch the content that they’ve manually selected.
Parents can also include playlists curated by trusted partners, such as PBS Kids, Sesame Street, and humans on the YouTube Kids team (not an algorithm!).
The “approved content only” setting disables the app’s search function, as well.
Now that it’s been almost four years since YouTube Kids launched, YouTube is aware that its target audience is getting older. It’s launched a new feature for kids aged 8 to 12 that lets parents select an “Older” setting that opens up age-appropriate content geared towards their interests: music videos and video game content, for example.
YouTube has seen its share of bad publicity with its kids app, primarily as a result of questionable content — sometimes creepy, other times disturbing (particularly the “Johny Johny Yes Papa” phenomenon) — that has found its way onto the app, a place YouTube intended to be a safe space for kids to watch content.
YouTube admits in its blog post that “no system is perfect” and encourages parents to flag inappropriate videos. But with these latest updates, it seems that YouTube Kids is certainly moving in the right direction.