YouTube Kids
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YouTube Kids

YouTube Kids
YouTube Kids logo.svg
Screenshot of the home screen of YouTube Kids
Screenshot of the home screen of YouTube Kids
Original author(s)Google LLC
Developer(s)YouTube LLC
Initial releaseFebruary 23, 2015; 4 years ago (February 23, 2015)
PlatformAndroid, Android TV, iOS
Available in2 languages
List of languages
  • English
  • Cantonese
As ofMarch 7, 2019 9:47 AM EST

YouTube Kids is a video app developed by YouTube. The app provides a version of the service oriented towards children, with curated selections of content, parental control features, and filtering of videos deemed inappropriate viewing by kids 12 and under.

First released on February 23, 2015 as an Android and iOS mobile app,[1] the app has since been released for LG, Samsung, and Sony smart TVs, as well as for Android TV.[2][3] As of September 2019, the app is available in 69 countries, including Hong Kong and Macau, and one province.[4] YouTube launched a web-based version of YouTube Kids on August 30, 2019.[5]

YouTube Kids has faced criticism from advocacy groups, particularly the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, for concerns surrounding the app's use of commercial advertising, as well as algorithmic suggestions of videos that may be inappropriate for the app's target audience. The app has also been associated with a controversy surrounding disturbing and/or violent videos depicting characters from children's media franchises. Criticism over the videos led YouTube to announce that it would take more stringent actions to review and filter such videos when reported by the community, and prevent them from being accessible from within the YouTube Kids app.



The app is divided into four content categories; "Recommended", "Shows", "Music", and "Learning". The categories feature curated selections of content from channels deemed appropriate for children.[6][7]

In August 2016, the app was updated to support the YouTube Red (now YouTube Premium) subscription service, allowing ad-free playback, background playback, and offline playback for subscribers.[8] In February 2017, YouTube began to introduce premium original series oriented specifically towards YouTube Kids, including DanTDM Creates a Big Scene, Fruit Ninja: Frenzy Force, Hyperlinked, and Kings of Atlantis.[9] YouTube has also presented advocacy campaigns through special playlists featured on YouTube Kids, including "#ReadAlong" (a series of videos, primarily featuring kinetic typography) to promote literacy,[10] "#TodayILearned" (which featured a playlist of STEM-oriented programs and videos),[11], and "Make it Healthy, Make it Fun" (a collaboration with Marc and Pau Gasol to promote healthy living and an active lifestyle to children).[12]

In November 2017, the app was updated to add additional user interface modes designed for different age groups, ranging from the existing simplified interface (intended for younger children), to a more dense interface designed for older children.[6]

In September 2018, YouTube added new age group options relating to content offered in the app, "Younger" and "Older". "Younger" maintains the existing mix of content offered before, and "Older" adds more content from other genres, such as nature, gaming, and music.[13] In August 2019, the "Younger" setting was split to add a new "Preschool" group, with a focus on "creativity, playfulness, learning, and exploration".[14]

Parental controls

The YouTube Kids app features parental control settings which allow parents to set time limits, and restrict users from accessing the search tool. Parents can use a passcode or their Google account to protect these settings, and configure profiles for multiple users to tailor their experiences.[15][6]



The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) and the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) both expressed concern over the use of advertising within the YouTube Kids app, arguing that children would not be able to distinguish the ads from content. Short bumpers were later added to the app in order to establish a separation between advertising and content.[16]

Filtering issues

The YouTube Kids app has faced criticism over the accessibility of videos that are inappropriate for its target audience. The CCFC filed an FTC complaint over YouTube Kids shortly after its release, citing examples of inappropriate videos that were accessible via the app's search tool (such as those related to wine in their testing), and the Recommended page eventually using search history to surface such videos. YouTube defended the criticism, stating that it was developed in consultation with other advocacy groups, and that the company was open to feedback over the app's operation.[17][18] A larger YouTube controversy referred to as "Elsagate" has also been associated with the app, referring to channels which post videos featuring characters from popular franchises (especially, among others, Frozen, Paw Patrol, Peppa Pig, and Spider-Man), but with disturbing, sexually suggestive, violent, or otherwise inappropriate themes and content.[19]

YouTube global head of family and children's content Malik Ducard admitted that "making the app family friendly is of the utmost importance to us", but admitted that the service was not curated all the time, and that parents had the responsibility to use the app's parental controls to control how it is used by their children (including disabling access to the search tool).[20] Josh Golin, director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, argued that automated algorithms were not enough to determine whether a video is age-appropriate, and that the process required manual curation.[20] He added that "the YouTube model has created something, which is so vast, but there are 400 hours of content are uploaded every minute. It's simply too big. People have been raising these issues for years, just visit any parenting forum and they've been talking about the fake Peppa Pig videos."[17]

In November 2017, YouTube announced that it would take further steps to review and filter videos reported by users as containing inappropriate content, including more stringent use of its filtering and age-restriction system to prevent such videos from appearing on the app and YouTube proper.[21] In an update to the YouTube Kids app that month, a more prominent disclaimer was added to its first-time setup process, stating that the service can not fully guarantee the appropriateness of videos that were not manually curated, and informing parents of means to report and block videos that they do not find suitable.[6]

These options expanded further in 2018, with the addition of an option to restrict users to human-reviewed channels and recommendations, as well as a manual whitelisting system.[22][13]


  1. ^ Alba, Davey (February 23, 2015). "Google Launches 'YouTube Kids,' a New Family-Friendly App". Wired. Retrieved 2018.
  2. ^ Perez, Sarah. "YouTube Kids comes to smart TVs". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2017.
  3. ^ "Android TV app for YouTube Kids now available". Android Police. August 10, 2017. Retrieved 2018.
  4. ^ "[Update: 7 more] YouTube Kids expands to six new European countries (including the return of Croatia)". Android Police. February 5, 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  5. ^ "YouTube Kids launches on the web". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d "YouTube Kids update gives kids their own profiles, expands controls". TechCrunch. November 2, 2017. Retrieved 2018.
  7. ^ "Hands On With "YouTube Kids," Google's Newly Launched, Child-Friendly YouTube App". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2018.
  8. ^ "YouTube Kids rolls out an ad-free option". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2018.
  9. ^ Perez, Sarah. "YouTube Kids gets its own original shows". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2017.
  10. ^ "A new reading movement for YouTube Kids". Kidscreen. Retrieved 2018.
  11. ^ "YouTube Kids launches #TodayILearned campaign". Kidscreen. Retrieved 2018.
  12. ^ "YouTube Kids, Gasol brothers get healthy together". Retrieved 2017.
  13. ^ a b "YouTube Kids adds a whitelisting parental control feature, plus a new experience for tweens". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019.
  14. ^ "Ahead of FTC ruling, YouTube Kids is getting its own website". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019.
  15. ^ "YouTube Addresses Complaints About Inappropriate Content In Updated YouTube Kids App". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2018.
  16. ^ Skwarecki, Beth. "Is YouTube Kids Purposely Training Kids to Watch YouTube Ads?". Lifehacker. Retrieved 2017.
  17. ^ a b "YouTube Kids has been a problem since 2015 -- why did it take this long to address?". Polygon. Retrieved 2018.
  18. ^ "FTC asked to investigate YouTube Kids for deceptively targeting toddlers with ads". The Mercury News. April 6, 2015. Retrieved 2018.
  19. ^ "The disturbing YouTube videos that are tricking children". BBC News. March 27, 2017. Retrieved 2018.
  20. ^ a b "On YouTube Kids, Startling Videos Slip Past Filters". The New York Times. November 4, 2017. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018.
  21. ^ "YouTube says it will crack down on bizarre videos targeting children". The Verge. Retrieved 2018.
  22. ^ "For the first time, parents will be able to limit YouTube Kids to human-reviewed channels and recommendations". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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