YouTube Kids app comes out to play

As expected, Google unveils its kid-friendly YouTube app, but it's out already on both Android and Apple's iOS.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

A look at the YouTube Kids app for iOS and Android.


Google on Monday unveiled its new kid-friendly YouTube app, the company's first product built exclusively in-house with children in mind.

As CNET first reported last week, the YouTube Kids app for Android devices is now available for free in the Google Play marketplace. At the same time, Google launched the app for iOS devices in Apple's App Store.

The app sheds adult-oriented content from YouTube and includes only videos geared towards kids.

"Videos in the YouTube Kids app are narrowed down to content appropriate for kids," the company wrote in a blog post on Monday. "You can browse channels and playlists in four categories: Shows, Music, Learning and Explore. Or search for videos of particular interest to your family, like how to build a model volcano, math tutorials, the amazing (and endless) world of trains--and everything in between."

By offering a kids-only app, YouTube is following the lead of other video providers, including Netflix, which has its own kids section. Like YouTube's offering, Netflix's Kids app includes support for parental controls so only age-appropriate content allowed by the parents can be viewed at a given time. Amazon offers a similar service called FreeTime that gives parents control over the type of content kids can view and for how long on its products.

Google said over the last year, several teams within the search company have been eyeing ways to provide products solely for kids and this is the first step in the process.

Earlier this month, Google announced that it had acquired child-focused Launchpad Toys, maker of the popular storytelling app Toontastic. The move was part of Google's increasing desire to double down on children-focused products.

With YouTube Kids, parents will find a wide range of children-focused content available in the app, including programming from DreamWorks, Jim Henson, and others. The app includes large icons to make it easier for kids to choose their desired programming, as well as parental controls that let parents limit screen time, searchable content, and sound. Google will make the app available to the Kurio and Nabi kids' tablets "soon."

In an interview with USA Today last week, Shimrit Ben-Yair, the kids app's group product manager, said parents were consistently asking the company to "make YouTube a better place for our kids." Ben-Yair says the app is the first step in making that happen.

YouTube did not immediately respond to a request for comment.