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YouTube Kids

3 minutes reading time
3-13 years
Tool description

YouTube Kids is the child-friendly little sister of YouTube . The platform offers a large collection of age-appropriate videos for children. It was developed especially for families.

In a nutshell:

  • free app for Android and iOS
  • Closed YouTube app and website with special children’s content for preschool and elementary school ages
  • Safety and control functions by the parents
  • requires login with a Google account
  • Advertising in the offer

What is YouTube Kids?

YouTube Kids is a special offer for children. This is a platform that uses a special algorithm to filter out content suitable for children and feeds it into the app or website. At the beginning of use, parents can choose between three age levels: Preschool age (up to four years), younger (from 5-8 years) and older (from 9-12 years).

The content is divided into four categories: Series, Music, Learn and Explore. You’ll find more exciting content around topics like music, gaming, science, or crafts. The popular heroines and heroes of the little ones are also available on YouTube Kids: Little Dragon Coconut, Bibi and Tina, the Sandman, etc.

YouTube Kids is designed so that children can easily use the platform. With large illustrations and a voice search, even children who cannot yet read can use the website. YouTube Kids content can also be streamed to a smart TV via systems like Chromecast, Apple TV, and game consoles. Uploading your own videos like on the “real” YouTube is not possible.

What excites children about the offer?

Children – like adults – like entertainment. They can access their favorite characters and stories in the app virtually at any time. Thus, YouTube allows kids a certain form of independence – as long as parents allow it. For example, content can be searched for and viewed independently.

Also, it is possible to share videos and channels from the parents’ YouTube account to their child’s. These are videos that are not normally found on YouTube Kids.

What’s problematic about YouTube Kids?

The offer is based on an algorithm. This means that content is not selected by humans and not all of it is checked for quality, but that it is a technical selection process. Errors can occur in the process. Since the launch of the service, for example, numerous offers have appeared that initially seemed suitable for children but later turned out to be unsuitable.

In addition, the algorithm plays videos with large reach and large numbers of views first. For example, in addition to the well-known and popular cartoon characters, children’s Influencers or family YouTube channels are particularly popular, which often also contain product placements or similar. Last but not least, the free offer obviously contains advertising that is adapted to the target group. Only with a subscription to YouTube Premium, the YouTube Kids channel can also be viewed without advertising. However, it is positive that no other websites can be opened from the offer.

What does the provider say?

There may be errors in the selection of videos. No system is perfect. Therefore, the algorithm is constantly improved and manual checks take place. Parents are explicitly encouraged to report videos if they appear problematic. For even more control as a parent, all search and suggestion functions can be turned off so that only the listings on the home screen are accessible. YouTube Kids provides more tips for parents on parental control settings on its website.

The provider Google explicitly points out that YouTube Kids does not replace parental control and guidance of their children. Parents should choose videos together and stay close.

What should parents pay attention to?

If possible, you should watch videos together with your child so that you can identify what content he or she is comfortable with and what is not appropriate for your child.

Since features like uploading, sharing or rating videos are not available, YouTube Kids is safer than its big sister YouTube. Parents have the option to create their own password to access the settings in the app.

For more control, special settings have been added that are password protected:

  • Search settings: If the search function is activated, millions of videos for the whole family can be accessed. If it is disabled, the use of the app will be restricted. Then kids will only see videos on the app’s home page. They will be selected by the system according to the videos they have seen so far and the age setting. The history can be deleted in each case.
  • The built-in timer can be used to limit the amount of time your child spends in front of the screen. When the set time is over, the app alerts children and locks itself.

Try the app without your child first and then decide if it’s right for you and your family!

At Medien kindersicher there is a detailed tutorial on how to set up YouTube Kids.

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