73% of minors in our country say that YouTube has become their favorite video platform, according to the report ‘From change to adaptation: living and learning in a digital world’ by the cybersecurity company Qustodio. For experts, this data is worrying, since it is very likely that at some point they will have access to content that is inappropriate for their age, with the consequences that this entails.
However, for the peace of mind of families, the well-known social network has a parallel channel that includes a wide range of videos and playlists according to the age, interests and concerns of children: it is called YouTube Kids and is available both in web version as a free application to be downloaded on Android and iOS devices.
How to create a profile on YouTube Kids
The initial setup process is simple and only takes a few minutes; It requires, of course, the collaboration of the parents, who are in charge of creating a profile for their child through a parental account. In this process, the first thing to do is indicate the minor’s name, age and month of birth. Next, YouTube Kids ‘asks’ to choose between three age groups: preschoolers (up to 4 years old), toddlers (5-8 years old) and older children (9-12 years old). This step is essential because, depending on the option selected, the platform selects some videos or others.
While the contents belonging to the first group are mainly focused on creativity, learning, the desire to play and exploration, the second broadens its thematic variety, suggesting crafts and cartoons… For its part, the third group explores the universe of family blogs, science, video games and music videos, among other topics.
Available configuration options
Once the minor’s profile has been configured, the welcome page is accessed. Its design is characterized by its bright colors and by showing at the top the categories into which the videos are divided through icons. One of these categories is ‘Football’ and another ‘Videogames’. There is also one called ‘Music’ (karaoke, children’s songs, dance tutorials…); another ‘Programs’ (not only current but also classics like Sesame Street); and ‘Explore’, where they can consult other content such as those related to crafts and the subjects they study in class.
The YouTube Kids home page includes, on the other hand, an icon in the shape of a lock with access to three customizable tools. The first is the ‘Timer’ that helps to limit the exposure time: it is represented by a slider bar and the maximum is one hour. When this time is up, the app will be locked. As a complement to this parental control measure, it is possible to consult a history with the reproductions.
The second is called ‘Settings’ (with access to a guide for families) and includes different settings, including the ability to turn search options on or off. This means that the parents decide if they give the child permission to carry out the searches they want within YouTube Kids or can only see the videos selected in advance. In addition, it is possible to add sound effects, change the size and color of the texts, or watch the videos on a larger screen (for example, a Smart TV) via Wi-Fi. Finally, from ‘Suggestions’ it is possible to contact YouTube Kids to send any questions or comments.
Objective: guarantee a safe browsing environment
YouTube Kids applies a series of algorithms and automatic filters to classify the content and determine if the videos are suitable for the audience to which they are directed. Likewise, manual review processes are developed and, in the event that it is the parents themselves who locate content that is not appropriate for minors, they can report it: in the upper right corner of each video a menu is displayed where this option appears.
On the other hand, it should be noted that the page does not have the option of clicking the ‘Like’ button, leaving a comment or uploading a video. Instead, it does have a ‘Recommended’ list that appears next to the categories into which the content is divided.