To help you understand how YouTube Kids works, CodioDesk prepared a practical guide for beginners, highlighting the main features of the platform and how you can use these functions to monitor what your children are watching.
What is YouTube Kids
YouTube Kids is a similar-featured version of YouTube to the original platform, but everything is aimed specifically at kids. This includes the contents, which are mostly cartoons, animations and educational clips. Google claims it uses a combination of automated filters and human reviews to approve each video posted to the service.
Another outstanding feature of YouTube Kids is the interface. In addition to being more colourful, the look features larger buttons to facilitate navigation, especially for young children who have not yet developed much aptitude with touch screens. Also noteworthy is the fact that the application is summarized in just four categories (Series, Music, Explore and Games), simplifying its use.
How YouTube Kids works
While it can be accessed by children, all YouTube Kids settings are controlled by the responsible adult. For this reason, the service only works if it is linked to the user’s Google account of legal age. This step is mandatory and works for accounts for children aged 12 and under.
The responsible adult can still set a time limit in the app, view the history of what has been watched and use a password to block channels, videos and other parts that they consider sensitive for children. Comments are turned off in all profile categories to prevent children from seeing inappropriate messages.
Differences from YouTube Kids to regular YouTube
In addition to greater parental control and child-friendly content, YouTube Kids does not show video comments. According to Google, this prevents users from having access to inappropriate or bullying text.
YouTube Kids does display advertising, but all ads are based on the age profile selected by the adult. In fact, if the parent of legal age is a YouTube Premium subscriber, the child will be able to watch videos without any commercials.
Another difference is that, by default, YouTube Kids can only be used horizontally, and it is not possible to browse the service with the screen vertically. It makes sense since this version of YouTube was designed for the use of the cell phone lying down and on tablets.
YouTube Kids Resources
Below are the main features available on YouTube Kids that can be controlled by parents or adults responsible for children.
YouTube Kids allows the creation of up to eight children’s profiles, which can be associated with four categories by age: children up to 4 years old; from 5 to 8 years; from 9 to 12 years; and finally from zero to 12 years from self-approval. In this last option, available only on the mobile app, the adult must manually approve the channels and content that will be available to children.
In the profile configured for self-approval, the content search is disabled. The other profiles allow the child used to do research, but within the age limitation for each of the categories.
Any video appearing on YouTube Kids may be blocked by the responsible adult. Just tap on the screen of a currently playing video and select the “Lock” button. Content can be unlocked later at any time.
Through the YouTube Kids settings on the mobile and tablet app, parents have a timer option that sets a time limit for children to use the app. Upon reaching this maximum time, the app is automatically blocked and the child will not be able to use it until the adult unlocks it.
As with internet browsers, YouTube Kids keeps a history of all videos watched and channels accessed by children. As it is possible to block content individually, this feature can be useful when consulting specific channels or videos that may or may not please those responsible.
Despite having algorithms and human employees working to keep YouTube Kids safe, Google itself admits that it can’t always filter what’s displayed on the app. With that in mind, the company provides a feature to report videos that may have escaped automated systems.
How to download YouTube Kids
YouTube Kids can be downloaded on Android tablets and cell phones via the Google Play Store, or on iPhone (iOS) and iPad (iPadOS) via the App Store. There is also the web version that is available in web browsers on desktop and mobile.
If you have a Smart TV, it is worth checking the device’s app store, as there is a version of the platform for smart TVs. Video game consoles such as Xbox and PlayStation, as well as Apple TV, have the YouTube Kids app. The app can also be mirrored on the television via Chromecast.
How to use and configure YouTube Kids
The following procedure applies to both the YouTube Kids mobile app and the web version of the platform.
- On the YouTube Kids home screen, tap “I’m a Mom”;
- Enter your age and login with a Google account;
- Read the consent form and proceed to “Done”;
- Create the child’s profile with name, age and month of birth. Tap the arrow in the lower right corner;
- Confirm the display of content by age or select another profile option;
- Once setup is complete, tap on the desired profile icon to start using YouTube Kids.