If you’ve ever played with YouTube you know that alongside amazingly diverse videos, the comments section are a breeding ground for racism and hate groups, you’re also generally only two taps away from a psycho video reply or someone demonstrating extremely bad or dangerous behavior.
Pretty much like the rest of the internet and most of TV these days. You might not want your kiddo stumbling into an ISIS recruiting video however, and up until now there have been some ways to handle this but searching for anything could still land you somewhere you don’t want your kid watching.
Searching for kids videos on YouTube also generally mixes in the adult and child videos. “Oh hey Maggie, that’s Elmo with a gun… there’s more Furchester hotel… oh here’s an Elmo doll that looks like he’s humping a rabbit… here’s Elmo’s potty time… Elmo’s ABCs… oh and there’s someone cosplaying sexy female Elmo barfing on some guy who’s bodypainted yellow and calling himself Reasonably Sized Bird”.
Aside from the utter dank despair pit that is public commentary on the Internet, you’ve also got viddicted kids that once they start watching their Elmo or whatever won’t stop and you have to be the bad guy.
Fortunately YouTube Kids has aimed to fix most of this. There are timers. There are channels. The search is extremely limited, but there’s a lot of content.
There’re four main categories to choose from – Shows, Music, Learning, and Explore. They’re actually laid out end to end so if you scroll far enough to the right in one category you find yourself in the next.
Each section will start playing a video, but tapping it will pause it and bring up a list of other videos in the series. I think this is set so you just tap and play rather than frustrating a kid with tap and tap and tap and tap and play. It was a bit odd for me.
The app is locked in one view so when you rotate it or bump it you’re not suddenly going from portrait to landscape.
You can’t search for things that aren’t available to kids however, which means something has to be added by people in the Googlesphere to YouTube Kids in order for them to see it. I see potential problems from this, but at the moment this is a good start.
You also don’t appear to have the ability to cast to a TV. As I’m writing this away from a Chromecast at the moment I can’t guarantee this lacking, but it does appear to lack some of the power user appeal of today’s ecosystem.
YouTube Kids has been around for a little over a month now, and the amount of content seems to be growing at a steady rate.
I’d really like to see an option where you could define a kid, have them choose themselves, and then recommendations be presented for their age group as one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to kids.
Also a favorites system and the ability to block certain searches, videos, etc would be welcomed.
But it’s free, and it’s quality, so grab it!