YouTube has launched a separate website for YouTube Kids this week. It reportedly will be the desktop/web version of its existing Kids app.
Yesterday, YouTube released the YouTube Kids website. Currently, there is no option to sign in. It’s similar to watching YouTube Kids on TVs. Parents will be able to view watch history and flag content. They can also filter content based on the new age group content setting.
How the website works
When you first go to youtubekids.com, you need to confirm you are a parent or guardian of a child to unlock. Interestingly, you do this by answering a simple math question. We’re not sure how effective this lock will be, because the child could either know the answer or just look up the answer on Google.
But after the math problems are solved, you unlock YouTube Kids and can select which age group your child is in. You can choose from the Preschool, Younger, and Older categories. The preschool category is for children 4 and under. The Younger category is for kids between 5 and 7. As for the Older category, its kids 8 to 12.
Once your category is selected, you have the option to allow your child to search for new videos that interest them. If the search feature is turned off, you limit your child’s videos to specific channels that are verified by YouTube Kids. Your child can’t search on their own. YouTube still says “there is always a chance your child may find something you don’t want them to watch.” If this happens, YouTube says you can flag the content and they’ll review it.
After all this, YouTube Kids is ready to start playing videos.
YouTube’s controversies surrounding child content
YouTube has been through the wringer for its multiple issues regarding videos targeting children. There’s been a rise in child-exploitative videos that mask themselves as family-friendly content. YouTube had to close its comments section in videos with young children because they were housing pedophilic responses. And even more recently, YouTube was hit with an FTC probe that investigated if it violated COPPA by collecting data for children under the age of 13. Today, they were found guilty and will have to pay fines between $150 and $200 million, according to Politico.
While YouTube has launched youtubekids.com to be a safe place for kids to watch content, YouTube warns that there might still be content not suitable for kids on the site. YouTube reminded everything it doesn’t manually review every single video.
“Our systems work hard to exclude content not suitable for each of these age categories, but not all videos have been manually reviewed,” it wrote. We all know that YouTube’s algorithms aren’t perfect and it’s possible that there could be bizarre and disturbing content that pops up on the site.