YouTube, a company owned by Google, launched the toddler-oriented video streaming app YouTube Kids in 2015. With over 70 billion video views since its release, the app's popularity is extraordinary and calls us to look at the safety measures available to young users.
The designers of YouTube Kids describe the app as a "safer" experience than the regular YouTube video-sharing service as it is created specifically for kids. According to YouTube Kids' description in the app store, the app allows "for finding Peppa Pig episodes or watching user-generated videos of people unboxing toys, role playing their favorite cartoon characters or teaching kids how to dance."
According to Goggle, "videos available in the app are determined by a mix of algorithmic filtering, user input and human review." It is believed that the filtering system in place will filter out inappropriate content; however, this is not always the case.
In answer to concern about the available content, YouTube Kids created a number of opt-in parent controls and settings. These settings however, are not automatic. Parents must explicitly turn on the various safety settings within each child's profile in YouTube Kids' settings. An article by Protect Young Eyes, walks parents through the process of setting up parental controls on YouTube Kids.
Regardless of whether or not these controls are set by parents, it is important to recognize that the content displayed is based on algorithmic filtering and human review. Viewing video content alongside children is the most effective way to monitor what your children are watching.