February 20, 2015
YouTube will launch a kid-friendly version of its service to ensure younger users don’t stumble upon suggestively explicit videos.
According to USA Today, Youtube Kids is set to launch Feb. 23, and it will include Google’s age-appropriate video library. Built by in-house engineers, the app will also have a timer function that lets parents control how long the app can be used for before a password is required to continue watching.
“Parents were constantly asking us, can you make YouTube a better place for our kids,” says Shimrit Ben-Yair, the project’s group product manager, noting that family-friendly fare is a booming business on YouTube. “(Year over year) we’ve seen 50% growth in viewing time on YouTube, but for our family entertainment channels, it’s more like 200%.”
According to the publication, which recently saw a demo of the app, the look and feel is simple. The home page is dominated by eight large tiles showcasing images from popular kids shows. Icons above each tile indicate the type of video to expect, so, for example, a TV set indicates an entertainment show, while a lightbulb represents something educational.
The app will also include voice-based search option for toddlers. If a child types in a word such as “sex,” the screen pops up with a “Try something else” message.
According to the Wall Street Journal, YouTube is paying some creators to produce original content for its new service.
As for how YouTube Kids will generate revenue for the company, that is still “under discussion.” The existence of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which imposes strict limitations on how data is collected for advertising purposes from those under 13 years of age, makes it difficult to include ads.
The app will be available on Android for now.
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