Digital Media

Hey kids, YouTube has an app coming just for you

The online video service cooks up a new app -- on Android only, for starters -- after parents ask for a better viewing experience for youngsters.

YouTube Kids will be coming to Android devices next week. YouTube

When it comes to streaming video, these days it's all about the kids.

YouTube, the world's biggest online video service, said it will launch a new free app called YouTube Kids on Monday. The app initially will be available only on devices running Google's Android operating system.

It will feature videos, channels and playlists targeted specifically at youngsters, including "Thomas the Tank Engine," "National Geographic Kids" and "Reading Rainbow," while cutting out less kid-friendly or distracting elements on YouTube, including user comments and cruder videos.

"Parents were constantly asking us, can you make YouTube a better place for our kids," Shimrit Ben-Yair, the project's group product manager, told USA Today, which earlier reported the news.

YouTube, owned by Google, is taking part in a trend of streaming and online video services looking to provide videos for younger viewers, as a way to capture a broader audience and make their services a must-have for parents. Netflix for years has had a dedicated children's portal, and Amazon has been pushing its own original children's programs.

Added features of the app will be the ability for parents to set a timer that shuts off programming, and an option to turn off sound or search. Also, the app will have large images of shows for little fingers to tap. It also will prevent users from searching for certain words, such as "sex."

The new app will function separately from YouTube's current mobile app, which is available on Android and Apple's iOS devices.