YouTube’s app just for kids on the way (updated)

4 Comments

There are lot of great professionally-made videos for kids on YouTube buried in an avalanche of decidedly inappropriate content. Soon, parents won’t have to filter the millions of videos themselves: On Monday, Google is launching a new free Android app aimed directly at kids, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thusrday.

The app will be called YouTube for Kids, according to Google, and you’ll be able to download it from the Google Play app store for Android phones and tablets on Monday. (Originally, Google was not expected to also release an iOS version at launch, but it did.)

YouTube Kids Screenshot

The free app has several family friendly features, including a simple and colorful design, parental controls and ways to set limits on screen time. But the most important part of the app will be its curated roster of kids shows, including videos from popular series such as Sesame Street and Thomas the Tank Engine.

Companies contributing content include Jim Henson TV, DreamWorks TV, Mother Goose Club, The Jim Henson Company, National Geographic, and Reading Rainbow. The mix of content appears to center be mostly shorter web videos as opposed to full episodes — LaVar Burton, host of Reading Rainbow, for instance, will be contributing an “exclusive original series” called uTech. Shows like Sesame Street offer full episodes on YouTube, but those usually require a subscription.

It’s unclear whether Google will be serving advertisements in the YouTube for Kids app, although the Wall Street Journal reports that Google is paying its content partners to to produce original shows. Google will have to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, so it will have to notify parents before collecting identifying information.

A YouTube for Kids product has been a long time coming. Netflix and Amazon Prime Streaming both offer kids sections — Amazon sells a kid-oriented subscription — and there are lots of third-party apps that have tried to fill the child-oriented gap left by YouTube. But the children’s video market is too important to be left to startups, so Google is doing it itself.

Update 2/23: Google launched YouTube for Kids, and in a bit of a surprise, there is an iOS version on the App Store in addition to an Android version on the Google Play app store. This post has been updated to reflect availability for Apple devices.

 

4 Comments

TimeKeeper

” Google will have to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, so it will have to notify parents before collecting identifying information.”

That’s not how COPPA works! They don’t NOTIFY before collection, they need consent before they collect. They need verifiable parental consent including a request for authorization for future collection, use, and disclosure described in the notice, to ensure that a parent of a child receives notice of the operator’s personal information collection, use, and disclosure practices, and authorizes the collection, use, and disclosure, as applicable, of personal information and the subsequent use of that information BEFORE that information is collected from that child.

Now the lawyers at Google are smart so you would think they would have all their bases covered on this but, you would have thought the same about Disney ($3M fine for COPPA violation) and Sony ($1M fine).

Also, don’t forget that they will have to comply with PIPEDA if they expand to Canada and Data Protection Directive 1995/46/E if Europe is on the roadmap.

Kids content on YouTube, a general site, is not the same as YouTube Kids, a focused site directed towards children.

Adam Totsy

This is similar to an application I have been using for a while now and I am happy with it.
It is called “Totstube Free” and It is available on both Google Play and the app store..

Comments are closed.