Parents, get excited, YouTube has announced that they’re officially launching a new website designed specifically for YouTube Kids.
According to Engadget, it looks like it will be a desktop, web-based version of the company’s Kids app. As such, it’s expected to have similar safety features.
Additionally, the Google-owned streaming platform is also introducing age-defined categories.
We expect that, despite existing safeguards, parents will still want to significantly monitor their children’s viewing habits.
YouTube has been heavily criticized in the past due to issues regarding how they police content designed for kids. The company faced intense scrutiny for several years due to issues regarding dubious content – and that’s putting it lightly.
Comments had to be shut down after being inundated with obscene content, and that’s not even the worst of it.
While it’s pretty low-effort to leave a profane remark under a video, some bad actors took things a step further.
YouTube was also forced to contend with an ever-growing catalog of child-exploitive videos disguised as family-friendly content. Some videos featured shockingly vulgar content hidden amongst cartoons, others reportedly bordered on child abuse.
YouTube continuously failed to properly target and remove this content. They did, however, eventually vow to take a more aggressive stance with regards to characters engaging in “violent, offensive or otherwise inappropriate behavior.”
No strangers to controversy, YouTube also recently underwent an FTC investigation that examined how they collect data. The results of the probe were not in the platform’s favor.
The company was found to have violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, aka COPPA. As a result of the breach, Google is now responsible for a multimillion-dollar fine.
The findings showed that Google and YouTube had collected data from children younger than 13 years of age. Additionally, the companies failed to adequately protect children online.
Engadget reported that the FTC had been receiving complaints regarding YouTube’s approach (or lack thereof) to child privacy for multiple years.
With the launch of their new Kids website, they’re offering more controls based on age appropriateness.
However, despite these new controls and new measures being taken, YouTube doesn’t want to be held responsible for objectionable content. Should a questionable video slip through the cracks here or there, it’s not on them.
Included in the announcement regarding YouTube Kids, the platform reminds users that they do not manually review all videos. In other words, they make no guarantees that the site will be free of indecency.
“Our systems work hard to exclude content not suitable for each of these age categories, but not all videos have been manually reviewed,” the company wrote. That’s a big “but” if you’re concerned about what your children might find.
As several sources have noted, the platform’s algorithms are far from perfect. As with any internet service designed for kids, parental guidance is certainly suggested.