Apple partners with Common Sense Media to vet podcasts for kids

The initiative is the latest way the tech giant is trying to stand out in the increasingly crowded podcasting world.

Ian Sherr Contributor and Former Editor at Large / News
Ian Sherr (he/him/his) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so he's always had a connection to the tech world. As an editor at large at CNET, he wrote about Apple, Microsoft, VR, video games and internet troubles. Aside from writing, he tinkers with tech at home, is a longtime fencer -- the kind with swords -- and began woodworking during the pandemic.
Ian Sherr
2 min read
Apple computers

Apple was an early pioneer with podcasts.

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Apple's expanding its partnership with parental education organization Common Sense Media to create new podcast listings of vetted shows for kids. The initiative, which builds on a similar project last year for movies and TV shows on Apple TV, will include Common Sense Media branding.

The iPhone maker plans to update its collection monthly, featuring new and popular shows, as well as themes like Women's History Month and Back to School.

Apple's efforts to draw more interest to its podcast listings marks the latest way it's expanding its efforts to appeal to children. The tech giant's historically been known for its education-focused efforts, building devices and apps focused on schools and classrooms. Three years ago, the company made a big pitch to bring its iPads to classrooms, partnering with device maker Logitech to build a "crayon" stylus initially aimed at schools. The company's also built apps to help teach coding, held "Apple Camp" at its retail stores and invited young app makers to its annual developers conference.

Apple isn't the only tech company building products for children, of course. Google's Chromebook low-cost laptop program has become popular among cash-strapped schools and has been catching on for homes and businesses as well. Industry watcher Gartner tallied 11.7 million Chromebooks shipped during the 2020 holiday shopping season, nearly twice the number of Apple's Mac computers sold during the same period.

Google and Facebook have also built apps geared toward children, though their respective YouTube Kids and Messenger for Kids have struggled to protect kids from inappropriate videos or restrict conversations with the broader Facebook community.

Apple's efforts with Common Sense Media also come at a time when media companies are increasingly looking to podcasts as a way to help their services stand out. 

Two years ago, music streaming app Spotify bought podcast producers Gimlet and Anchor. And in 2020, it signed a multi-year licensing deal with the Joe Rogan Experience, which is considered one of the most popular podcasts in the world. E-commerce giant Amazon, meanwhile bought podcast maker Wondery late last year, bolstering its Amazon Music service.

Apple so far has taken a less dramatic approach when it comes to media. Last year, the company partnered with Common Sense Media to highlight shows and movies geared toward families as millions of children were stuck at home due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now, it's doing that with podcasts too.