YouTube has introduced three new ways for parents to monitor the YouTube Kids app, which it says will roll out over the course of 2018. The updated tools arrive after a controversy dubbed ‘Elsagate’ emerged late last year, during which a slew of inappropriate videos were discovered to be targeting children, leading to a purge of channels amid outcry by advertisers and a pledge on YouTube’s part to do better.
In order to show that it has the interests of young viewers at heart, YouTube is rolling out this week an option where parents can limit viewing options for their kids to channels from YouTube-approved partners, such as Sesame Workshop, PBS Kids, and Kidz Pop. These partners will furnish content about arts and crafts, music, sports, learning, and more, YouTube says, enabling parents to rely on renowned content brands. The video giant says that it will add more partners over time.
A second option will give parents the ability to personally hand-select — or whitelist — every single video and channel that their children are able to access. And lastly, YouTube Kids is adding even more security to its search-off feature. Going forward, when parents turn off the ability to search within the app, the YouTube Kids experience will automatically be limited to channels that have been verified by the YouTube Kids team, and will not include recommendations from the platform’s broader ethos.
YouTube notes that parents who do not want access to the new features will be able to keep the current version of YouTube Kids. The app is currently used by 11 million viewers weekly.
“Kids love the recommended videos in the app — and parents have told us they are also interested in more ways to personalize the app for their specific style,” said YouTube Kids’ product director James Beser in a statement. “Throughout this year, we’ll roll out a more robust suite of tools for parents to customize the YouTube Kids experience.”