YouTube Kids gets improved parental controls

26 April, 2018, 12:40 | Author: Jacqueline Daniels
  • YouTube removed 5 million inappropriate videos in three months even before anyone saw them

Both the grown-up video service and the YouTube Kids app have been criticized by child advocates for their commercialism and for the failures of a screening system that relies on artificial intelligence.

YouTube Kids says it is making changes that should better protect children and young people online. The New York Times reported in the fall that children using the app had been shown videos with popular characters from Nick Jr. and Disney Junior in violent or lewd situations, and other disturbing imagery, sometimes set to nursery rhymes.

This means any video uploaded to YouTube can also appear on YouTube Kids if the company's algorithms decide it is suitable.

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There's three main options that Google and YouTube are introducing for parents, starting with new collections by trusted partners.

Finally, turning search off will now limit the YouTube Kids experience to channels that have been verified by the YouTube Kids team. As the biggest video source on the Internet, YouTube creates a dedicated YouTube Kids app to become a safe haven for children, basically anyone under 13 years old, to enjoy the treasury of the service's content.

More: Got a kid who loves YouTube?

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With "Collections", YouTube Kids team and their partners will offer collections of trusted channels on a variety of subjects from arts and crafts and music to sports, learning and more.

The new feature gives new choices to parents to further customize YouTube Kids app. Beser went on to add, "While no system is ideal, we continue to fine-tune, rigorously test and improve our filters for this more open version of our app". The second feature, called "Parent approved content", is scheduled to be rolled out later in the year.

Josh Golin, executive director of the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, saw the move as broadly positive, but said that more parental controls do not absolve Google of its responsibility to keep inappropriate content out of the YouTube Kids app. Instead of setting restrictions, parents will hence be able to specifically handpick every video and channel available to their child in the app. But parents have discovered a range of inappropriate videos on the app, highlighting the platform's dependence on automation and a lack of human oversight.

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