Google will launch YouTube Kids, a version of YouTube aimed at children, on Monday, February 23rd.
YouTube Kids will feature appropriate content and controls for children. A report from USA Today highlights available content such as Sesame Street and Thomas the Tank Engine; videos for popular songs; and educational programming such as Khan Academy.
Parents will be able to set a limit for the amount of time that their kids can spend using the app and can rest assured that their little ones won’t stumble onto anything inappropriate thanks to filtered search terms. For example, if a child types a word like “sex,” a message will prompt them to try something else. The app also gets rid of distracting elements like user comments, a move that we would be pretty happy to see in the “grown-up” YouTube.
This is the latest attempt to make Google’s services more child-friendly. Vice president for engineering at Google, Pavni Diwanji, said in December that there’s a push to make Google’s products fun and safe for children. This is mainly because many of its employees are having kids, according to Diwanji. YouTube Kids’ group product manager, Shimrit Ben-Yair, also added that parents are increasingly asking about making YouTube a better place for children.
He revealed that there has been around 200% growth in viewing time of family entertainment channels, so there’s certainly an opportunity there. Of course, Google will need to work out how to monetise this new offering without facing the ire of regulators.
YouTube Kids will be available on Google Play for free from Monday. It will launch in the United States, but it’s unclear if it will be available elsewhere for the moment.