An update rolled out this week for Google’s YouTube Kids app to address some of the inappropriate content issues raised by consumer watchdog groups and parents.
Two new features “just for parents” will allow parents to install a passcode and learn how the app works, reports PC Magazine.
Now when parents open up the app, they’ll be greeted with an explanation of “how our systems choose and recommend content and how to flag videos,” the director of product management, Shimrit Ben-Yair, wrote in a blog post.
When parents open YouTube Kids, we’ll explain upfront how our systems choose and recommend content and how to flag videos.
Parents will be able to set the app’s boundaries by either turning search on to access family-friendly videos, or turn it off to restrict use to a more limited set of videos.
Launched in February for iOS and Android, YouTube Kids was lauded by Google as “safer and easier” for children in comparison to the main video-sharing service. The app rolled out with parental controls, voice search, and large icons kids could easily use.
However, the app is full of advertising not appropriate for children, according to a complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission in April. The claim was that YouTube was not doing enough to protect kids from viewing videos they shouldn’t be seeing that included references to drugs, alcohol, and sex, reports Tech Crunch.
While the new app will help parents learn how to flag videos, passcode lock the app, and turn the search options off, “no system is perfect,” as Ben-Yair writes in the blog post.
Installing the children’s version of YouTube on mobile devices is not a replacement for parental supervision.
Parents are encouraged to continue to monitor their children’s viewing habits on YouTube Kids and to flag any inappropriate videos that leak through the new security system.