YouTube finally gives parents control over what children watch on its ‘Kids’ app, after complaints from critics
Early this month, we reported that twenty two consumer advocacy groups filed a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) accusing YouTube of illegally collecting children’s data. The advocates said Google’s YouTube violates the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). According to FTC, COPPA imposes certain requirements on operators of websites or online services directed to children under 13 years of age, and on operators of other websites or online services that have actual knowledge that they are collecting personal information online from a child under 13 years of age. COPPA also requires YouTube to get consent from parents or guardians before it collects any data on children 13 years old or younger.
Now YouTube is addressing critics’ complaints. After several months of controversy surrounding its content, the Google-owned video platform announced on its blog site, new features that allow parents to create a white-listed, non-algorithmic version of its Kids app. For the first time, parents will now be able to control what their children watch on YouTube ‘Kids’ app.
The new feature gives new choices to parents to further customize YouTube Kids app. “When we launched the YouTube Kids app three years ago, our goal was to give kids around the world a place to access videos that were enriching, engaging and allowed them to explore their endless interests. Since then, our team has continued to work to improve the app experience for kids and families around the world. One area of focus has been building new features that give parents even more control around the content available in the YouTube Kids app so they can make the right choice for their unique family and for each child within their family,” the statement read.
YouTube plans to start rolling out three new feature options in its YouTube Kids’ app that will give parents control over what their children can watch. The first feature starts this week. The feature is called “Collections by trusted partners and YouTube Kids.” With this option, YouTube trusted and the YouTube Kids team will offer collections of trusted channels on a variety of subjects from arts & crafts and music to sports, learning, and so much more. The second feature, called “Parent approved content,” is scheduled to be rolled out later in the year. The feature will allow parents to specifically handpick every video and channel available to their child in the app.
The third and the last feature is: “Improved search-off control for an even more contained experience.” This feature is an improvement over existing search feature. Already, parent parents have always been able to turn search off within the YouTube Kids app, “but starting this week turning search off will limit the YouTube Kids experience to channels that have been verified by the YouTube Kids team. This means that search off will not include recommendations from the broader YouTube Kids corpus,” YouTube said.