Posted by Schooldays.ie Newshound, on 18/11/2015. Tags: Parenting
After a nine month incubation period in the US, the YouTube Kids app has hit our Irish shores. Over 10 million American parents have downloaded the app in order for their children to browse video content while in a safe environment.
The content available on the app is targeted towards young children, from pre-schoolers to pre-teens, and there are many restrictions on what can be viewed and searched for.
Some of the main feature attractions of the app include: Voice Search for younger children
This feature is ideal for pre-school children although there have been reports of user difficulties with this feature.
No Account Requirement
This means that kids cannot like, share or upload their own content.
Parents can shut off music and sound effects when quiet mode is activated.
This feature gives parents the power to automatically limit the time their child spends on the app.
The app draws heavily from child-friendly YouTube channels such as National Geographic Kids, Little Baby Bum and Mother Goose Club. The app will also feature videos from Irish channels once it is up and running in Ireland.
The app is currently free to download, but, just like the adult YouTube, the app is funded through video advertising. YouTube officials have banned commercials which do not strictly adhere to their child-friendly policy yet there are still many loopholes into which an unsuitable advert or inappropriate content may find its way onto the app.
There is also no control over advertisers or other adult videos posing as seemingly child-friendly content in the video feed.
Earlier this year, a formal complaint was made to the FTC about the amount of videos which were potentially harmful to children.
Some of the videos directly mentioned in the complaint included cartoons dubbed over with music which contained sexual references; another featured a wine tasting tutorial; and one which seemed to be a video of cute dogs turned out to be a blatant advertisement for an alcohlic drink.
The head of YouTube Kids, Greg Dray, explained that while the company tried to make all the videos available through the app child-friendly, it also relied on parents flagging unsuitable content for anything that slipped through the cracks.