Family entertainment channels online are in high demand, and as a result, YouTube Kids is being released. The new service will make the Internet a safer place for young users and will allow them to access their favorite TV shows and channels. The site will be overseen by regulatory agencies and have parental controls as well. Eventually, YouTube Kids will include advertising, although it is not yet known exactly how that will pan out.
YouTube Kids is a responsible and lucrative product for Google
USA Today reported that YouTube is creating a unique platform for children. Online, many videos are inappropriate for users of a younger age, and Google, YouTube’s parent company, believes that making the web safer for kids is the right thing to do. YouTube Kids will be similar to the original site, but will feature videos that are age-appropriate. While the free app is set to launch on Feb. 23, it is currently available for Android devices only. Shimrit Ben-Yair, product manager for the project, told USA Today that family-friendly services are receiving significant attention on YouTube. The new service is in response to that demand as well.
“Parents were constantly asking us, can you make YouTube a better place for our kids,” said Ben-Yair, according to the news source. “[Year over year] we’ve seen 50 percent growth in viewing time on YouTube, but for our family entertainment channels, it’s more like 200 percent.”
The Wall Street Journal noted that the new app will be compatible with smartphones and tablets upon release and will feature original episodes of popular television series. Shows like “Thomas the Tank Engine” and “Sesame Street” will be available for streaming, as well as a host of other kid-friendly channels.
What does YouTube for kids look like?
YouTube Kids has been in development for months, with contributions from in-house engineers, third-party testers and parenting consultants, according to USA Today. As a result of the collaboration, the new product is simple and easy to use. Instead of viewer comments, the site features parental-controls with a timer that can shutdown the app after a certain amount of time. A recent demo of the app revealed that the home screen is comprised primarily of eight large tiles showcasing images from children’s shows.
“The images are big as are the tap targets for small fingers, and since most younger children can’t type they can search with voice,” explained Ben-Yair, according to the news source.
Interestingly, If a child types in a word such as “sex,” the screen will show a message informing him or her to try different search criteria. Additionally, parents will be allowed to control the app’s settings and administer passwords to protect their children from changing them.
The rules and revenues of YouTube Kids
The Wall Street Journal reported that YouTube kids will have to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, which is overseen by the Federal Trade Commission. As of yet, it is not known how YouTube Kids will make money. It is highly likely that the site will feature advertisements, similar to the original YouTube, but different in terms of products advertised. Darcy Bowe, vice president and media director at advertising agency Starcom commented that her clients would like to see more online advertising venues specifically for children. Bowe explained that when customers do not find the appropriate online opportunities, they end up investing in TV ads instead. When asked about advertising on YouTube Kids, she responded “Absolutely we’d be interested. Everyone would love that.”