The separate app for children, which launched three years ago, aimed to give kids a place to access videos, however there have been concerns over the access kids have to inappropriate content.
In controls rolling out later this year, YouTube has announced parents will be able to manually approve videos their children can access through the app, giving them the opportunity to handpick ones they feel are appropriate. Also, starting this week, there will be the option for parents to change settings in the app so it only shows channels that have been vetted by human moderators - these will be collections of videos and channels from trusted channels, created by Google.
Parents have always had the ability to turn search off within the YouTube Kids app, but now, turning search off will limit this to channels that have been verified by the YouTube Kids team.
James Beser, product director for YouTube Kids, said: “From collections of channels from trusted partners to enabling parents to select each video and channel themselves, we’re putting parents in the driver’s seat like never before.”
The NSPCC welcomed the new controls, but said it was “overdue”. “Parents should have the confidence that a platform designed for children only shows appropriate content, and that videos which some children might find distressing or upsetting do not slip through the net,” a spokesman said in response.
Some argue more could be done to improve the safety of the app. Josh Golin, executive director of the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood said these controls “do not absolve Google of its responsibility” to keep inappropriate content out of the app.
“Let’s not forget that most kids are watching the main YouTube platform, where they not only exposed regularly to inappropriate recommendations and content, but also ensnared by Google’s troubling data collection practices,” Golin told The Guardian.
Find out more about the controls and how to use them here.
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