YouTube is a popular platform among adults and children due to the huge array of videos it hosts on just about every subject. From DIY to games, entertainment, or animal videos, YouTube has an enormous range of content.
There are lots of fun videos on YouTube, but many are aimed at adults and may not be appropriate for children to watch. That’s why a lot of parents use YouTube Kids as a way to create guidelines so kids can explore YouTube safely.
What is YouTube Kids?
YouTube Kids is an app developed by YouTube, which was originally launched in 2015. YouTube Kids provides tools for parents to choose the content that kids can access without the risk of seeing inappropriate videos.
The content allowed on YouTube Kids is curated by algorithms and the YouTube Kids team members, who check whether the content is suitable. Content aimed at wider audiences is filtered out so children can't access it. There is also some content designed specifically for YouTube Kids, expanding what children can watch.
The YouTube Kids app is designed to be used by children, so it has an inviting and simple menu system, supporting children to use the app by themselves. This lets them explore content that they want to see and helps them learn about what interests them in a safe environment.
What kind of content is on YouTube Kids?
The content on YouTube Kids is curated and aimed at children. It includes a wide range of videos.
- Shows: Clips and full-length episodes of popular children’s TV shows.
- Music: Songs for kids, including lullabies and sing-alongs, with both classic songs and new material.
- Learning: Educational videos from a range of educational groups, on a wide selection of subjects, from dinosaurs to plants or mathematics.
- Exploring: This is a broad range of other user-created content that does not fit into the other categories, such as toy reviews or videos about popular games.
- Branded content: Some brands aimed at children have their own channels on YouTube Kids, such as Lego and Hasbro.
The content on YouTube Kids is made specifically with young people as the target audience, so the content should be safe for children to watch. This also means that the language and concepts should be easy enough for children to understand, and they won't be confused by watching material aimed at adults.
YouTube Kids also includes advertising, but it should be suitable for children to see and will be mainly adverts for toys, games, and other items of interest to children.
Who adds new content to YouTube Kids?
In theory, any YouTube creator can add content to YouTube Kids. However, the only content that gets added to the YouTube Kids app is content that is considered safe and helpful for children. This is primarily done by an algorithm that checks content.
Content aimed at children can be added to YouTube Kids, as well as other content that is judged suitable. There are many content makers out there producing material for the YouTube Kids app, so there will always be plenty of fresh and engaging videos for your children to watch.
As well as independent content makers, many large brands make videos for YouTube Kids. This includes well-known companies such as McDonald's and Disney. These companies add content to entertain kids while ensuring their brands remain relevant and noticed.
Is YouTube Kids safe?
While YouTube Kids is designed to be safe, plenty of parents still have safety concerns about letting their children use the YouTube Kids app. Thankfully, there are also parental controls that can help you make sure that your child is exploring within sensible limits.
Some unsuitable content and user-written comments may be unsuitable for children. YouTube suggests reporting this immediately if any inappropriate content is found.
What age is YouTube Kids for?
YouTube Kids is primarily aimed at children aged 12 and under. The app has different types of content aimed at pre-schoolers all the way up to preteens.
Is YouTube Kids free?
Yes, YouTube Kids is free to use. However, to keep the service free, YouTube Kids displays adverts before, after, and sometimes during videos. If you use YouTube frequently, you will be familiar with how this works in the standard app – YouTube Kids is very similar.
In addition, there is also a premium version of YouTube Kids, which comes with a subscription fee. The premium version does not have any adverts, and it allows you to download content to watch even when your device is offline. This can be very helpful if you need to keep your children entertained during a long car ride or while you are waiting for an appointment or transport outside the house.
Are there parental controls on YouTube Kids and how do I set them up?
You can set up parental controls by accessing the settings in the main account where YouTube Kids is set up. This may mean you need to enter a password to change settings so that your children cannot change the settings to access content that has been judged as unsuitable.
From the Settings menu, you can select a range of options to help tailor your child’s YouTube Kids app, and what they can access.
- Disabling the search feature: This limits your child to watching content verified by the YouTube Kids team, and they can no longer search for specific videos.
- Blocking content: This means your child can't access the content you do not want them to watch.
- Changing your child’s content level setting: This means your child can only watch content judged suitable for certain ages.
- Approved content: This means that you have to approve any content that your child wants to see before they can watch it
You can also review your child’s watched video history to check that they haven't watched anything that is inappropriate for their age and level of understanding.
Are there any concerns related to YouTube Kids?
While YouTube Kids is designed to be a safe environment, there are still concerns. Some parents worry that the advertising on the app will influence their children. The adverts on YouTube Kids are suitable for children their age, but if you do not want your child watching adverts you may want to consider subscribing to the premium version of YouTube to activate the benefits available for YouTube Kids.
YouTube Kids also collects data about what kids search for and view for algorithms that can suggest what your children watch next. This data could also in theory influence what other websites and adverts are recommended.
Are there any alternatives to YouTube Kids?
Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other streaming services all have the ability to curate content aimed at children. These services tend to cost money, but they do not have the adverts and comments that YouTube Kids has. There are also other options for video streaming on tablets and phones, but you should always be aware of how to keep your children safe on mobile devices.
Learn more about GoHenry’s parental controls
At GoHenry, we know how important parental controls can be. We have designed our GoHenry prepaid kids debit card and app to give children independence while integrating parental controls to monitor purchasing, flag up concerns, and limit how much your child can spend at once.
We also provide options to prevent the card from being used online, at ATMs, or at any stores that are considered risky. To learn more about our commitment to safety, read about our parental controls.