YouTube is finally giving parents that use its "Kids" app more control over the videos their little ones can stream.
Starting this week, parents will be able to choose from a selection of "trusted" channels if they don't want their kids to have access to the broad selection of content on Kids. When they turn off the YouTube Kids' search feature, the app will only recommend content from those trusted channels. Later this year, it will also start allowing parents to hand pick every single video that their children can watch through the app.
A non-algorithmic, white-listed version of the Kids app has been something that parents have been calling for. Since its inception three years ago, the Kids app was supposed to filter out adult content to make a "safer and simpler" version of YouTube for children. But because that filtering was done algorithmically, inappropriate videos, including disturbingly violent or sexualized content, the equivalent of digital junk food, and conspiracy theories have slipped into the app.
Jennifer Harris, the mother of a middle schooler, told CNBC that she used to make her son show her every video he wanted to watch on YouTube Kids before it started. Now, YouTube is giving all parents that level of control within the app.
"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," James Beser, product director at YouTube Kids, said in a statement.