For such a huge and important site, YouTube often resembles the Wild West or the last days of the Roman Empire.
Because of its vast size and of how easy it is to upload a video, there’s a lot of dodgy material available to watch, with no age filter – and let’s not even get started on the comments that can pop up below even the most innocuous of clips. For many parents, the idea of letting their child loose in such a environment is horrific, and that’s a shame, because YouTube is also full of excellent stuff that can both entertain and educate kids.
Luckily, the Google-owned site is stepping up its game in this area, starting with a new child-friendly app called, appropriately enough, YouTube Kids.
YouTube is for the kids
According to a report by USA Today the app, which will launch in the US for Android devices on 23rd February, will offer family-friendly fare and a vastly simplified interface. Gone are comments and other distractions, with the home screen instead being dominated by eight large video tiles and five icons: a TV set that takes the user to shows like Thomas the Tank Engine; a radio that brings up videos of songs; a light bulb for educational material; binoculars for exploring popular videos; and a magnifying glass for search (which will ignore certain questionable terms).
The report also claims YouTube Kids will feature unique parental controls, such as the ability to set a timer that shuts the app down after a certain amount of time.
We’ll doubtless know more about the app when it arrives in the US on Monday. No UK (or iOS) version details are available as yet.