YouTube Kids: What Parents Need to Know About the New App

PHOTO: Google’s newest app, named YouTube Kids, aims to give very young children a safe and easy video viewing experience.Google
Google’s newest app, named YouTube Kids, aims to give very young children a safe and easy video viewing experience.

Getting a toddler's attention is hard enough, but YouTube is ready to try.

The Google-owned video sharing website announced the launch of a kid-friendly video app today in the United States for Android and iOS.

YouTube Kids aims to provide entertaining and educational videos for children while giving parents control over their viewing habits.

"We're as focused on kids' safety as you are, so we've built the YouTube Kids app to be a family-friendly place to explore," Shimrit Ben-Yair, the YouTube Kids product manager and mother of two wrote in a blog post today.

With more than 300 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, policing the site is a monumental task. Think of YouTube Kids as a fenced in playground where parents don't have to worry about their kid stumbling upon something that isn't age appropriate.

Parents will have the option of whether they want to allow their child to search or instead serve an even more carefully curated selection of videos. A built-in timer can also keep viewing habits in check for older kids, with the setting controlled by a parents-only lock that will be out of their reach.

Among the kid-approved staples included in the app are videos from Jim Henson TV, "Sesame Street" and "Thomas the Tank Engine."

And yes, the app will carry some age appropriate ads -- further growing YouTube's astounding presence.

When Google bought YouTube for $1.65 billion in 2006, many people wondered if the search giant had wildly overpaid for the site. Today, the website is said to be valued as high as $40 billion.

Half of all views on YouTube now come from mobile devices, making it clear that there's a real market for kids to enjoy a family-friendly version of YouTube via an app.