You have probably heard that YouTube has launched a mini version of itself for the tiniest versions of ourselves. YouTube Kids is now available in 50+ countries, and recently it launched in the Netherlands, so I just had to try it out, assisted by my 3-year-old daughter of course <3
The creators advertise that YouTube Kids is a world filled with fun of learning and playing, especially for children. They offer a safe and easier way to discover the world via online videos. Filters, feedback and reviews make sure that video’s shown on YouTube Kids are appropriate for the entire family. The creators of course added a disclaimer that some inappropriate video’s might slip through. And since this app has all kinds of tools for parental supervision you can fit the app to your family’s needs.
Create up to 8 profiles, each with its own preferences, recommendations and options
Parents can approve content
Report videos if you find the unsuitable for children. The creators will then review themselves as soon as possible.
Viewing history: you can see what your offspring has been watching and know if you have to revisit the content/channel approving or not
To get started
Don’t hand the phone over just yet, because after downloading the app you’ll have to create a profile for your child. Which you can do after the animation video. Cool profile photos are available. We just had to go for the sassy purple unicorn. After adding a name, age and month of birth you choose if search options are on or off and your kid is good to go.
Unless you want to add something more to your kid’s use of the app. You can add a clock/timer to the app so it automatically stops after the added time. Another feature is that you can approve channels and single video’s for your child, so it’s per profile.
On top of the screen there are four categories: shows (popcorn), learn (light bulb), discover (arrows) and music (musical note). Each of those has its own contents/channels. Sometimes another symbol is visible: a heart which represents recommended videos.
When you have addled with the content for your kid’s profile it looks a bit different. Then there are only two categories. A heart which represents the recommended videos who have been sampled for your child taking into account his/her viewing history. And the second icon is an orange representing the approved content/channels by the parents. Another difference is that your kid can not search for other videos as the option is unavailable after you’ve chosen to approve content yourself.
The kid’s opinion
About my daughter, she was just ecstatic app. Every time she was able to use it meant screen time, which we do not allow that often, so it was a big hit beforehand of course. What she liked is the animation video the app shows when the app loads it’s content: fun figures and animals doing crazy things in big bold colors, comic sans and upbeat tunes get her all hyped up before the actual video showing.
I could see YouTube Kids is just as easy to navigate for her as YouTube was. Swiping away through all that video content which I approved for her to watch and loving it just as much as before on YouTube. Of course the colored background adds some atmosphere, but I’m not sure she really noticed.
And while your kid browses through categories you hear a game-like melody. Luckily, I found out later this could be muted in the options of the profile.
Now here’s what I thought
I think it is a brilliant move to create a mini-version of YouTube for kids. Yeah sure, it is all in English and she doesn’t really speak the language yet (unless you consider counting to ten and ‘hello’ speaking a language), but she understands the stories anyway. In some reviews people seemed to mind that there wasn’t a language option available, but it is not a problem for me.
I am not sure if I want to keep meddling with what channels she can or cannot watch (to each its own kind of parenting), but I am thrilled that it is an option! And that timer as well! I found the app easy to navigate, it has fun designs and important: my daughter seemed to have fun with it. But the most rewarding I found while my kid used YouTube Kids is that the my own YouTube account wasn’t that cluttered with child content any more and more fitted to my needs.