YouTube is releasing a new app called YouTube Kids next week. This will be an age-appropriate video app for children that will offer suitable content and choices from kids TV shows and other popular recommendations, reports the Wall Street Journal.
At launch, the free app will run on Android devices only, and will be separate to the mainstream YouTube service. It will feature a kid-friendly design incorporating big icons and minimal scrolling, and will include voice search for those young children who can't type or spell, for example. The home screen will present images from popular TV shows and four simple icons representing shows, music, learning and explore, allowing kids to browse through top videos in these categories.
The app is expected to feature approved video content by National Geographic Kids, Dreamworks, Thomas & Friends, LeVar Burton's Reading Rainbow, and the puppetmasters at the Jim Henson Company.
Parental controls, including a timer that can be used to stop youngsters from watching for too long, will also be available. When/if a youngster tries to search for inappropriate terms such as 'sex', the app will not complete the search request but pop up a message suggesting they 'try something else'. Hopefully 'old kids' favourites such as Tom & Jerry and the Pink Panther will be available in the kids app, but we shall find out how (un)restrictive the video app is in practice next week.
The Google-owned video streaming site will be launching the YouTube Kids app on 23rd February during a keynote at Kidscreen Summit, a children's entertainment industry conference.