Earlier in April, a report was published noting that YouTube Kids would soon allow for a human-monitored version of the YouTube Kids app in the near future. Well, the near future is now here, and Google announced that it will be rolling out the new features this year.
So what are the new features? Well, for starters, the app will essentially allows parents to whitelist channel collections and topics they want to allow their kids to see — instead of relying on algorithms to choose appropriate content for them. To choose the channel collections they approve, parents can head to the Profile Settings.
Parents can get even more granular than that too. A feature will be rolled out that allows parents to handpick the specific videos and channels they want to allow their kids to see, if they so choose. Last but not least, parents will be able to limit the search function in the YouTube Kids app to only search through content they specify.
This decision was likely prompted as a response to the recent controversies surrounding YouTube Kids. Last year, it was reported that the app was playing host to a number of disturbing cartoons that often featured extreme violence and sexually inappropriate content. Things got even worse when, earlier this year, it was reported that various conspiracy theories had been found in the app.
The new app signals an interesting shift in YouTube’s philosophy. Previously, it had placed a lot of faith in its algorithms to ensure that the site delivers age-appropriate content to children. This move may signal that the company is willing to admit that complex algorithms, while useful, aren’t always the ultimate solution.
YouTube’s use of algorithms has been a problem for its main site as well. Over the past year, we have seen numerous YouTube content creators claim that their videos had been taken down or demonetized due to alleged claims of copyright infringement or inappropriate content. Many content creators reported that their videos had been approved upon review via YouTube employees, signaling that the fault lay with the site’s algorithms rather than the content creators.
Updated on April 25: YouTube Kids app has officially been announced.