YouTube Kids app launches in UK and Ireland for child-friendly videos
Nine months after being launched in US , Google has made its YouTube Kids app available in the UK and Ireland, offering filtered content for three-to-eight-year-olds.
More than 10 million American parents have downloaded the app, which serves up a filtered selection of videos and channels that are appropriate for children.Since its US launch, Google says the app has been downloaded over ten million times. It hasn’t been without some controversy though – some consumer groups have raised concerns about the ads being shown on the app.
The app also removes social features like comments and the ability to upload videos; has a built-in timer to limit how long children can use it; and blocks inappropriate search terms .
The UK and Irish version of YouTube Kids emphasises local channels, including famous children’s brands like Morph, Teletubbies, Wallace & Gromit and The Magic Roundabout.
As in the US, the app is a free download for Android and iOS devices, but will make its money from advertisements running in between the videos.That has been controversial in the US, with several consumer-rights organisation calling for regulator the federal trade commission to investigate YouTube kids over its use of ads.
“We only show ads that are approved as family-friendly – for example, we don’t show any food and beverage ads – and all ads undergo a rigorous review process for compliance with our policies,” a YouTube spokesperson told the Guardian.
YouTube Kids does collect data on the videos watched by individual children, for a recommendations feature that suggests videos they might like based on their habits.The app also has a feature enabling parents to “flag” videos that they think are inappropriate for children, but have avoided YouTube Kids’ filtering algorithms.
All in all, this is good news for kids in the UK and Ireland (and their parents) – it’s one way of allowing children to be more independent in their discovery and learning on the Web without having to worry about what’s going to turn up.