Kora and Logan are true digital kids. When they each turned about two Dave let them play with his smartphone and to my surprise they could easily figure out how to swipe, pinch, zoom, and open their favorite kids apps. As the years have passed their interest in everything electronic has soared and one of their favorite sites is YouTube.
At their previous school the computer teacher allowed the kids to go on YouTube and Kora & Logan would come home laughing about some of the hilarious pet videos they saw or excited about the newest kids movie trailer.
A tablet was received.
To be honest I wasn’t completely comfortable with them being on YouTube at school because I just wasn’t sure if the computer teacher was able to get around to every screen to see every video each child was watching. I found myself wishing that there was a way kids could watch family friendly videos with no worries. That’s why I’m excited to work with YouTube Kids who sent over a tablet to load up the new YouTube Kids App!
I am a huge fan of YouTube. Some of my favorite video categories include: how-to, travel, tech, and of course viral videos. I like being able to subscribe to channels I enjoy so I can see their latest videos as soon as they are released. I also have a YouTube Channel for 2 Wired 2 Tired where we publish our family, food, travel, and tech video reviews. I love having a YouTube Channel and being able to share our videos so easily.
Since I have a lot of experience with YouTube I was excited to try out the YouTube Kids App and as soon as we were able we jumped right in.
WHAT IS THE YOUTUBE KIDS APP?
We’ve spent some time over the past week or so playing with the the YouTube Kids App. When I first opened it I was happy to see that it offers filtered content so children can easily view family friendly videos. According to the YouTube blog, “this app makes it safer and easier for children to find videos on topics they want to explore.”
I was impressed that the videos load right up for us, there’s no buffering at all. As soon as Kora & Logan click a video it starts playing and then kids can easily watch in full screen mode.
You can see both the quick loading and the full screen play in the videos below.
Right from the home screen kids can find all kinds of kid-friendly channels under four different categories. Here’s the list of categories and some of the channels you can find under each:
- Sesame Street
- Reading Rainbow
- Thomas & Friends
- Strawberry Shortcake
- HISHE Kids – How It Should Have Ended
- Official Peppa Pig
- Official Babar
- Barney & Friends
- Yo Gabba Gabba
- Fireman Sam
- My Little Pony
Here’s a look at some of the channels & shows:
- Kidz Bop
- The Learning Station
- ChuChu TV Kids Songs
- Lullaby World
- Baby Mozart
Here’s a look a the Disney Lyrics Playlist to give you an idea of all the music fun on the app:
- PBS Kids
- Cool School
- Khan Academy
- The Spangler Effect
- Geek Gurl Diaries
- Incredible Science
Here’s a look at some of the Learning channels and videos:
- Art Hub For Kids
- Evan Tube
- Rainbow Loom
- Mad About Lego
- Twenty Trucks
- BluCollection Toy Collector
- Cute Girls Hairstyles
- Full Time Kid
- Cut The Rope
- Telmo and Tula
- Kiwi Crate (kids science experiments)
There’s even playlists full of all kinds of fun videos kids will enjoy including:
- Classic Characters – Charlie Brown & Snoopy, Tom & Jerry, Winnie-the-Pooh, Care Bears, SchoolHouse Rock, and Bernstein Bears
- Shows For Learning – Super Why, Sesame Street, Wild Kratts, Peg & Cat, Tiny Grads
- Viral Videos For Kids – full of cute animals, laughing babies, and talented kids
And those are just a microscopic few of the all of the videos and channels available in the YouTube Kids App. I am amazed at just how many videos there are and how well curated the app is. After using it for some time, I have no concerns of any inappropriate content showing up.
You can see by some of the channels and videos I listed above that the app seems to be primarily targeted to toddlers and preschoolers which is what I thought at first too. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see under the Learning category Khan Academy, Spangler Effect, Ted Ed, and other channels that are great for older children. Kora is 9 and Logan is 8 and they absolutely love the YouTube Kids app. In fact, here’s a video of them showing their favorite features, channels, and videos.
I also made a video to give you a more in-depth look at the app:
While I think this app is brilliant and really wish it was around when Kora & Logan were younger, I do hope they make some improvements in future updates. While there honestly isn’t much to control, the parental controls could be enhanced. The password to set the controls is a simple four digit code that is written out in words. It’s not something parents can set themselves. When you click the control section you are given four numbers written as words such as “six, seven, three, two” parents then type in “6, 7, 3, 2.” You can guess that any child that can read can easily figure out the password. Hopefully this will be improved upon at some point.
As of now parents can use the controls to:
- Set a timer
- Turn off the background music and sound effects
- Limit search to preselected videos on the home screen
- Product feedback
I appreciate these features however, I would love the parental controls to include the ability to block some channels. While I haven’t found anything inappropriate in our time with the app I would prefer to be able to block the open box channels. I completely understand the appeal but the three or four open box channels within this app start to feel very commercialized and just like the old-fashioned commercials we used to watch in our childhood, they make the kids start asking for those toys or games.
While this isn’t a parental control feature I also hope that in future updates there is a way to favorite videos or channels. This would make it easier for kids to find their favorites rather than scrolling through every video to do so or trying to type in the search bar.
A “Recommended” category does pop up after you’ve used the app for awhile and it’s helpful. It allows kids to find videos based on what they’ve watched previously.
I also like that the search bar allows kids to search within the app for certain things. I have no fear of them coming across inappropriate content and it’s a great way for them to discover new videos.
As for the ads, at this time they are few and far between. They seem to pop up every four to five videos but sometimes it’s longer. I’m very pleased with how kid friendly they are. It’s brilliant, actually, because even though there is often the option to skip the ad, they are so kid friendly that the kids are sure to watch them. I didn’t see anything overly commercialized either, the ads I came across include those for the National Parks, Khan Academy, Simple Songs, and other family friendly YouTube Channels. Also the ads aren’t clickable so they won’t take the kids away from the app.
I realize this is a lengthy post, but the YouTube Kids App deserves it. I can see that a lot of work went into this app and they truly had kids in mind when they designed it. It’s full of family friendly videos that kids will love. I recommend it to any and all parents, especially those of young children. It’s one of my favorite kids apps and I can’t wait to see how it improves with future updates.
Follow the #YouTubeKids hashtag on social media.