YouTube Kids: What Is It And Why Is It Important?
19 November 2015, 10:20 | Updated: 17 July 2017, 12:11
Children are the future, and YouTube has come up with a way to keep them safe from the strange world of Internet video content - YouTube Kids.
YouTube is the 3rd most popular website on the entire planet. It's true, I Googled it for you. So with global audience reach taking into account, surely YouTube has done the ultimate job of attracting as many potential users as possible over its 10 year history? Apparently not.
Over the past 12 months we've seen the launch of YouTube Gaming and, more recently, the announcement of it's paid subscription service, YouTube Red. It's clear the Big Wigs sitting on the YouTube thrown want to keep expanding their social media platform to attract literally everyone they possibly can. And it's here we get to their next venture: YouTube Kids.
Launched in February 2015, YouTube Kids is now being released exclusively for the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. But what does it actually do? Is this new app a waste of time or does it truly improve the user experience of children and parents alike?
We've broken down some of the key changes that YouTube Kids has to offer with its upcoming Android and iOS apps as it's important to consider what this emerging need for 'controlled content for children' will do in regards to other multimedia services such as Vimeo or the already segregated Netflix.
- It shows an awareness for the changing climate of 'traditional TV' onto digital platforms.
Speaking as a mother, I know that my daughter very rarely watches the television in our home other than to help me with the more difficult questions on Pointless. However, hand this 3 year-old digital sponge an iPad and she can find her favourite shows in her subscription box within seconds.
With hugely popular kids shows like Teletubbies and The Magic Roundabout archiving their old episodes onto YouTube platform anyway, surely YouTube Kids steps into the role of an on demand kids TV service? Even homegrown online channels such as Little Baby Bums and Funny Kids Surprise Eggs gained nearly 600 million views combined in October alone - like it or not, but the kids are taking over the Internet.
One critical thing YouTube Kids does that television could never compete with - a parental set timer to ensure that their children don't spend all day surfing the 'Tube when they could be outside learning stuff. Trust me, this is needed.
- It helps to move children away from potentially inappropriate videos.
Here at Unicorns we love the likes of Shane Dawson and Jenna Marbles. But they're clearly not right for tots. Thankfully, YouTube Kids has plans for that, but it may come at a cost.
Specifically with mainstream YouTube channels whose fanbase is made up younger viewers, this removal of their largest demographic could potentially have a major impact on their subscriber count. Particularly those creators who have a passion for swearing and mature video games. We’re looking at you, Pewds.
This could possibly be one of the most critical features to the upcoming app as the team behind YouTube will be expected to highly police and control the content that filters through to the youngest generations of our planet. Don't mess this up guys!
- It controls the type and amount of advertisements that appear next to videos to ensure they are age appropriate.
Even as a mature adult I can say quite confidently that adverts annoy the bajesus outta me. What's worse is watching my daughter become pre-conditioned to wait for the 'SKIP AD' button to appear before she can watch the newest episode of Paw Patrol on her account.
The new app promises to make these advert intrusions a thing of the past with an intense algorithm to keep any adverts away from young ones that they mustn't see, such as the newest Victoria Secrets collection alongside The Wheels On The Bus. Unfortunately ads will not be totally removed from the app, but YouTube has personally promised to make sure that mature content will not feature anywhere near Kids centered videos.
- Most importantly, it filters away the toxic comment section we have all come to live with on the regular YouTube site.
The comment function on YouTube Kids is completely gone. A good thing for children who are receptive to hurtful and mature message boards, but even better perhaps for YouTube creators whose comment sections are riddled with aggressive and downright strange input from children acting as keyboard warriors.
Yes it may have taken away the social aspect of YouTube that a lot of it's older viewers enjoy using so much, but the fact remains that freedom of speech does terrible things to some people online and children are never going to deemed the correct audience for these views. Thankfully, if they consume content through this app, they are no longer exposed to the toxic environment of YouTube comments.
YouTube Kids is now available on Android and iOS and is downloadable completely for free.