It’s been over a year and half since  the launch of YouTube Kids in the U.S. YouTube has now finally launched its YouTube Kids’ app in India both on Android (Google Play) and iOS (App Store). The release says that the content from the app can also be watched on big screen using Chromecast, Apple TV, game consoles or a smart TV. It also says that the app has been launched in over 20 countries around the world.

With the launch of the app, several Indian content creators will adding new shows to app including ChuChuTV and Kids TV, a new season of Cat & Keet by Toonz Animation, the Gummy Bear song in Hindi, and a new season of Appu – The Yogic Elephant, among others.

The most watched kids and learning channels in India include ChuChu TV Nursery Rhymes, ChuChu TV Surprise, CVS 3D Rhymes, Green Gold, Infobells Hindi Rhymes, Infobells Telugu Rhymes, Kids Channel – Nursery Rhymes & Toy Trucks, Kids TV Nursery Rhymes, Videogyan 3D Rhymes and Wow Kidz. It is worth noting that severel kid’s channels from India like ChuChu TV are present on the YouTube Kids’ app even outside of India.

App categories and parental control features

  • Users can browse the app for content in four categories namely Show, Music, Learning and Explore. The app includes voice search to let children find videos even if they can’t type or spell.
  • The app allows parents to set the age level of the videos that the child enjoys – preschool, school age or all kids.
  • With the addition of videos like the structure of an atom on Exam Fear Videos, it appears that the app also includes content on education for kids.
  • The parental control features on the app including search settings, sound settings, timer feature and passcode settings.
  • Search settings that allows parents to set restrictions on their child’s searches on the app. Search off option will restrict the child’s access to all videos on the platform.
  • The timer feature will limit the child’s viewing time.
  • Using the passcode settings, parents can set a passcode to access the settings and other parental information on the app.

Even with all the parental controls, there is no guarantee that inappropriate content will not show up while kids use the app. According to the YouTube Kids Parental Guide, “However, no algorithm is perfect. This means your child might find content you don’t want him or her to watch. If this happens, please flag the video — we use these flags to improve the app for everyone.”

The question is does flagging really help?  In December 2015, YouTube took down a series of videos containing children using swear words and objectionable content (like “Adolf Hitler did nothing wrong”, “Feminism is Cancer” and “I get more a** than a toilet seat”) after Tejaswini Naik, a Mumbai resident, created a petition to have them removed. The video was removed only after this petition went viral.

What about the ads on YouTube Kids?

This is rather interesting! YouTube says that food products cannot be advertised on YouTube Kids. That said, user uploaded content on the platform is not considered to be an ad. So in case a child searches for a food product like cookies, the algorithm may suggest an ad video from a brand’s channel. Technically, it may not be advertising but the kid would end up watching the ad anyway.

YouTube Kids also has paid ads, supposedly certified as family friendly after a review process. Short intros will be played before a paid ad to help children understand that a paid ad will be be played before their chosen video. If creators notifies of product placements and endorsements then YouTube would remove those videos from the app.