YouTube Kids launched in the US in February 2015 and is due to be rolled out to the UK later this year.
YouTube Kids is a free Android and iOS app aimed at under-5s that allows children to use YouTube safely and only access suitable, curated and pre-screened content – hiding the darker, weirder and inappropriate videos that can be accessed on the site.
Now this sounds like a pretty useful app for parents who are concerned about what their children are watching online but it’s not without controversy.
With companies like McDonald’s, LEGO, and Fisher Price having their own channels and with there being no clear identifier about what is a fun video and what’s an advert, consumer groups and children’s charities have started complaining.
YouTube deny they’re doing anything wrong, but with internet video having less restrictions about advertising to children compared to normal TV, parents should be aware.
Viewing videos on a phone or tablet is a more private thing and may make it harder for parents to question and discuss with their children what they are watching, compared to it being on a big screen in the corner of the room. Most children under five would find it difficult to distinguish between adverts and programmes.
So if you get nagged every time you pass the toy aisle in the supermarket, you may want to think twice about using the app when it launches in the UK. Or just stick to BBC iPlayer and their CBBC and CBeebies channels.