With kids having free much more free access to the Internet these days, parental controls are becoming the need of the hour. Just as you can exercise parental controls when you hand over your iPhone to your little ones or when they use the Chrome browser on their PC, you can also make sure that your kids don’t end up watching X-rated stuff on YouTube. Google has just launched a child-friendly version of YouTube (called the YouTube Kids App ) which has all the right built-in content filter options that will deliver what’s best for the youngsters. Parents are only left with the job of controlling how much time the kids spend on the channel and if they can search for videos. In this post, we take an closer look at how parental controls work in YouTube Kids.
YouTube Kids App and Parental Controls
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YouTube Kids app is currently only available in the Google Play and the App Store in the U.S. The app allows kids to browse through specific channels and playlist categories at the moment: Shows, Music, Learning and Explore. They will also be able to search for videos that are educational in nature such as how to build stuff for their school project work, fun math tutorials and such. But its not all serious stuff. Kids and family members can enjoy favorite shows such as Sesame Street and Thomas the Tank Engine, plus popular science series from the National Geographic Kids channel, tech discoveries from Reading Rainbow and so on.
As far as parents go, YouTube Kids App has several built-in options to accommodate every family’s concerns. The parental control settings are basically limited to a timer, sound control, search control and feedback.
YouTube Kids app has a built-in timer that lets parents choose how much time kids can spend on the app. When the time is up, the kids are alerted to the fact, so you don’t have to trouble yourself over it. To access the timer, head over to the app’s Security Settings and tap the padlock icon. Here you will be required to unlock a PIN. Just type in the numbers that you see on the screen in words. Once in, you have a couple of options.
1. Set the timer for how long your child can watch videos. The maximum time is 120 minutes. When the time is up the app will block the video player.
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2. Prevent kids from searching videos. You can limit your child to only view the videos suggested by the app. Also you can turn off sound effects and background music if you find them to be too noisy.
Finally, the app lets you provide quick feedback to Google if you feel there’s space for improvement or if you think some inappropriate content is showing up in the app.
The good thing about the app as far as the kids go is that it is designed for easy navigation with big buttons and easy scrolling options and kids can enjoy instant full-screen viewing. As far as parents go, the app generated password makes the parental controls practically useless for older kids who can read and type. User generated passwords should be the way to go so that kids who can read and write numbers also come under its purview. A lot of users have also requested Chromecast support, which one hopes will become available in future versions.
For now, if you are in the U.S., be sure to download the app from the respective stores so you kids can enjoy a safer YouTube experience.