Back in March of 2014, YouTube unveiled plans to develop an app with the goal of providing safe and suitable content for children under the age of 10. On Monday, the company will deliver on its promise with the launch of YouTube Kids, a safer, parent-friendly version of the popular video sharing app.
The new app will employ standard safeguarding measures you would expect from any content designed for children, such as preventing searches for questionable content, stripping away comments, and parental controls, including limiting viewing time. However, YouTube has a broader ambition to release new original content for the platform in the coming months.
Why the sudden focus on kid-friendly content when YouTube was doing just fine with drunk men eating bacon and famous historical figures facing off in epic rap battles? It turns out YouTube Kids was a long time in the making.
"(Year over year) we've seen 50% growth in viewing time on YouTube, but for our family entertainment channels, it's more like 200%," said Shimrit Ben-Yair, group product manager for YouTube Kids, speaking to USA Today. "Parents were constantly asking us, can you make YouTube a better place for our kids?" This new app seeks to supply the huge demand for a safer, smarter way to browse for videos.
YouTube Kids launches on Monday, February 23, and is currently only available on Android devices.