YouTube Kids has proven to be a popular way for parents to give their children access to a limited collection of YouTube content, even if that collection occasionally includes videos depicting suicide and cannibalism (oops!). The service has slowly been expanding its global reach, and now Google has added 11 more nations to the availability list.
The pandemic has forced many of us to stay at home, and in a lot of cases, this also meant working from our abodes. This has been a particularly tough situation for parents, who need to look after their kids while on lockdown. YouTube wants to offer a solution to make things easier for families by adding more than a hundred movies to its Kids collection.
It can take a fair bit of time for a series of major changes to a service everyone's seemingly familiar with to register with constituents. When YouTube announced its beefed-up compliance measures for the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, independent content creators rang the first alarm bells, fearing their videos would be subject to restrictions on their creative voice and revenue. Now, viewers are beginning to complain about the loss of features on their end whether they're trying to keep their kids educated and entertained or if they happen to enjoy some nostalgic puppetry themselves. So, we're taking a comprehensive yet concise look at what's been going on and what might come next.
Google (via YouTube) is rolling out new protections in the coming months for children using the video-streaming platform in the wake of the recent $170 million FTC settlement. As part of that change, personalized ads and comments on children's content will be eliminated, data collection for viewers of children's content will be reduced to the bare minimum required to "support the operation of the service," and content creators will be required to tag children's content as such.
YouTube recently faced some controversy over its autoplay function that ultimately ended up in an FTC investigation. Google's algorithmic selection had a bad habit of leading children away from safe, joyful videos and instead would occasionally point them to violent and inappropriate content. And if that wasn't attracting enough negative attention, it turns out Google also collected personal information on minors and used it for targeted advertising without parental consent, violating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
When it first launched, YouTube Kids had a one size fits all approach for all kids. But since children are interested in different things as they grow up, the service introduced separate content levels last year: Younger (ages 8 and below) and Older (8-12). Now, it's adding a third level specifically for preschoolers (4 and below). Also, the service should launch on the web this week.
YouTube is under fire for several controversies that left the company gasping for air. Most recently, an alarming trend keeps surfacing on the platform: The autoplay function leads kids away from the harmless, joyful content parents have started the watching session with and immerses them in objectionable, violent, and inappropriate videos instead. Now, YouTube is looking into far-reaching changes for kids' content, moving it away from the main platform to live solely on YouTube Kids.
To say that Google's and Amazon's relationship has been going through a rough patch over the past couple of years would be an understatement. The two companies have been on a path of mutual destruction, causing services of one to disappear from devices of the other, and vice versa. It looked like a resolution was nowhere in sight, so you can imagine our surprise when we saw the news that Google and Amazon have finally kissed and made up.
When it comes to watching YouTube Kids you'll need to be in one of the countries officially supported by the app. That's because if you download while in an unsupported nation, the app will disable itself and keep you from watching. Today there's good news for six new countries in Europe who don't have to worry about that anymore, as YouTube Kids has expanded again, bringing the total number of countries covered up to 53.