New YouTube Kids tools to help parents control content

New YouTube Kids tools to help parents control content

New YouTube Kids tools to help parents control content

Both the grown-up video service and the YouTube Kids app have been criticized by child advocates for their commercialism and for the failures of a screening system that relies on artificial intelligence.

And some consumer groups have charged that YouTube's main app has continued to enable plenty of kids programming, in violation of child privacy laws.

James Beser, product director for YouTube Kids, said said: "From collections of channels from trusted partners to enabling parents to select each video and channel themselves, we're putting parents in the driver's seat like never before".

YouTube Kids has struggled with disturbing videos, like beloved Disney characters in violent or sexual situations, sneaking past its automated filters.

Parents can turn search off, meaning that their child cannot search for new content but can watch videos on the app's home screen, which are selected by an algorithm "and some human review".

In a blog detailing the work it's doing to enforce its community guidelines, YouTube said the removed videos represented a "fraction of a percent of YouTube's total views" during the final three months of a year ago. But the practice of addressing problem videos after children have already been exposed to them has bothered child advocates who want the more controlled option to be the default. Rumours of a hand-curated YouTube Kids app surfaced earlier this month, and now Google and YouTube have announced more controls for parents to restrict what videos and channels their kids are watching, including limiting them to hand-curated content. And lastly, YouTube Kids is adding even more security to its search-off feature. These trusted channels will only offer content that is appropriate for children, such as Sesame Workshop and PBS Kids. These are videos from approved brands, which are more likely to be safe for you to watch than other random videos on the site.

"For parents who like the current version of YouTube Kids and want a wider selection of content, it's still available".

"Even though YouTube's terms of service say [the site] is for ages 13 and up", says Golin, "the platform is loaded with cartoons, nursery rhyme videos, toy commercials and all sorts of content for young children". "While no system is ideal, we continue to fine-tune, rigorously test and improve our filters for this more open version of our app".

This does not change the existing structure of the app if parents prefer that.

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