What do you do if you want to check out a video of your favourite band, or simply upload your own clip for the world to see? You visit YouTube. This amazing social media platform has become a powerful too today with a massive repository of videos that range from education content to downright explicit.
The platform has always faced the challenge of keeping explicit and “unsafe” content out of the reach of children. Up till now, there were age filters which required users to confirm their age by signing into their google account. However, the engineers have taken things further and come up with a dedicated app for kids that will have kid-friendly content. Not only would this ensure that kids get access to appropriate content, but also assure parents that their kids are not watching videos that are not meant for them.
What is YouTube Kids All About?
The reason for the creation of a dedicated app is that kids these days have become technically sound and it is possible for them to create and use fake email accounts for watching moderated content. Sometimes, a particular content may not be moderated owing to the lack of adequate “obscenity” or “disturbing elements”. However, the engineers at Google have worked out an ingenious way to cater to the needs of kids by giving them a platform altogether.
Shimrit Ben-Yair, product manager at YouTube Kids, shared the importance of the newly developed app as being quintessential for catering to the growing need of family-friendly content which is proving to be a major source of revenue for digital platforms. He said, “Parents were constantly asking us, can you make YouTube a better place for our kids. Year over year we’ve seen 50% growth in viewing time on YouTube, but for our family entertainment channels, it’s more like 200%.”
The new app has been made after months of research and development which comprised inputs taken from in-house engineer (the ones with parenting credentials) and third party testers from reputed institutions such as Common Sense Media. A notable improvement in the app has been the elimination of distracting elements such as user comments. This allows users to get straight to the content without spending a lot of time on irrelevant things. Parents can control the amount of time their kids spend on the platform. They need to set the time on the parent-controller timer and the app would shut down once the timer reaches completion.
Ben-Yair commented on the control feature where he said, “If a child deliberately or inadvertently types in a word such as “sex,” the screen pops up with a “Try something else” message. Parents who want to limit their child’s screen time can control the app’s settings through a password; when a set amount of time is up, the app turns off and can’t be started again without the password.”
The User Interface
- Television Set: Directs the user to programs such as Yo Gabba Gabba and Thomas the Tank Engine
- Radio: Directs the user to video renditions of popular songs
- Light Bulb: Indicates a collection of education programming (for example, Khan Academy)
- Binoculars: Allows the user to browse through a range of top videos
- Magnifying Glass: This is meant to be used for searching any video related query that may be found in the platform
If a child likes a particular tile, he can click it and be directed to the video. The app also supports voice recognition which allows kids to speak the search query and get the results accordingly. Most of the younger children are not comfortable with typing, let alone use the advanced touch interface of a mobile app. The voice command feature would help such kids to enjoy their favourite videos.
Google would (in all probabilities) release the app on 23rd February, 2015 (Monday) for the global user population. This unveiling of the official app would be done at a children’s entertainment industry conference so that the message is conveyed in a clear manner. The venue of the launch has been confirmed by an official spokeswoman of Google. As of now, the app is being expected to be made available only for the Android platform. However, there could be future adaptations made for other popular OS such as iOS and Windows Mobile.
Are you satisfied with this strategic decision made by Google? Share your thoughts with us and let us know your perspective on this subject.
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