My kids and I love to have dance parties – and we generally find our songs to dance to from YouTube. But I never let them do any of the navigating – I’m always worried that they might stumble on a video that is not safe for children. To be fair, my paranoia isn’t completely unfounded.
Back when my oldest son was around 2, my husband was watching SpongeBob videos with him on YouTube. If you’ve been around the Internet much, you know that SpongeBob is a favorite show of children and adults alike. Unfortunately, some of the humor in it is more geared toward the adults – which inspires people to make adult-humor video compilations or clips. Actually, it doesn’t really matter if the humor is geared toward adults, there are people on the internet who will make adult-humor videos out of ANYTHING. And that’s fine – I totally don’t mind if that’s what they’re into, I just don’t want my son to be exposed to that at a young age.
So while I will watch YouTube with my kids every now and then, I don’t really give them freedom to find videos that they like. I do let them watch videos in the PBS Kids app, which I know has their favorite shows and is made from PBS Kids shows – they’re safe to watch, and I’m fairly confident that nothing raunchy will pop up.
After I saw the email, I installed the YouTube Kids app on my phone to check it out. When I opened it, the recommended channels included Sesame Street, Thomas & Friends, Pocoyo – English (we seriously LOVE this show!), The Official Peppa Pig (my 3-year old loves Peppa!) and more. So far so good!
In addition to shows, there is also a button for music so you can flip through music channels like Mother Goose Club, KIDZ BOP Kids, Super Simple Songs, and ThePianoGuys – we’ve listened to several of these channels on our own, but having them readily available is really neat!
The next button is the Learning button, which shows us channels like PBS Kids, TED-Ed, WhizKidScience, and IncredibleScience – love these! I do some simple preschool lessons at home with my 3-year old, and more in-depth lessons with my 6-year old who has interested that just aren’t covered in public school. We often turn to YouTube channels for this information, so I know the learning button will be well-used with us!
The fourth option is the Explore button which shows channels like LEGO, twentytrucks, simplekidscrafts, and Cosmic Kids Yoga. We adore Cosmic Kids Yoga – actually, we found out about it because it is one of the indoor recess activities that the kids do at school in my son’s Kindergarten class. It’s a great movement activity that doesn’t leave the kids bouncing off the walls and it is super fun!
But that’s not all – you are also able to change Parental Settings on the app. To access the settings section, you will need to enter the numbers shown as written words on the screen. For an older child who is able to read, this won’t really be a barrier, but for a little one, it works. In the Parental Controls, you’re able to set up a time limit so that your kid isn’t watching too long. You can turn on or off background music, sound effects, and even the ability to search – which is handy if you’re not sure you want your kid exploring too far. It will limit the app to just the channels on the homescreen.
Overall, I really love the app! I am so excited to see it! I’m also excited because there are some new shows like SciShowKids that are launching with the launch of the app. This show will have science experiments to help answer those never-ending “why” questions every child seems to be innately able to come up with incessantly. Their curiosity is awesome, and this show helps the adults who are guiding them answer those questions!
And I’m not the only one! Common Sense Media reviewed the app prior to launch and said this:
“An exceptionally fun way for kids to browse online videos and for adults to guide their viewing.”
“A serious contender as a family’s go-to way for kids to watch videos online.”
“There’s something for everyone on YouTube Kids. Toddlers to big kids will be able to find a show, some music, or some educational content that fits their
— Common Sense Media
Check out the video with the introduction to the app here: