The app is making it easier for parents to be in the driver's seat when it comes to the video their kids see.
One day last year, I picked up my 7-year-old daughter from a friend's house only to learn she'd spent the afternoon watching YouTube videos. I wasn't too happy, and not because she and her buddy replayed Justin Bieber's greatest hits for hours on end (I mean, I'm a "Belieber"); rather, I knew they could have stumbled upon any number of other, less-age-appropriate videos in the process. I wished I'd had more control over what my daughter watched, and figured my only recourse was to ban her from the channel altogether.
So I was happy to learn that this week, the YouTube Kids app rolled out more parental controls. And it's all because parents like me provided feedback, letting the company know we need more control over the content our kids are watching. According to a press release, the app's new feature put parents where they belong when it comes to monitoring what kids watch: in the driver's seat.
Now, parents can flag certain content they approve or block videos or channels by simply signing into the app and following a few steps. And, according to YouTube, your selections remain consistent across all your devices. That's right, kids; that means there's no watching blocked content on Mommy's laptop when she's not looking!
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Here are a few more things you can do to customize your child's YouTube experience:
- Choose how broadly you want your child to explore. Turn search on to access millions of family-friendly videos, or turn search off to restrict your child's experience to a more limited set.
- Time play: Let the app be the bad guy with a built-in timer that lets you limit kids' screen time. The app alerts your child when the session is over, so you don't have to.
- Customize by age. When you first open the app, you can select from three general age groups (preschool, school age, or all kids) making the initial homescreen reflect videos that may interest children in that age range.
What do you think about YouTube Kids' new parental controls?
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Find her on Facebook where she chronicles her life momming under the influence. Of coffee.