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YouTube has a new way for Irish parents to keep their kids quiet

But the company has come under fire in the US for exposing children to deceptive ads.

Image: Associated Press

YOUTUBE WILL LAUNCH its dedicated app for kids in Ireland and the UK about nine months after the service was first unveiled in the US.

The YouTube Kids app, which has programmes targeting at pre-school to primary school ages, divides videos into four main categories: shows, music, learning and ‘explore’.

They come from shows like National Geographic Kids, Peppa Pig and In The Night Garden, while it will also feature videos from Irish authors like Scott Swetak’s Mad About Lego channel.

The company, which is owned by Google, said the app had already been downloaded more than 10 million times since its release and it would be available in Ireland from tdoay.

It comes with an easy interface for youngsters to use and the ability to search for videos using only the voice – although enabling there have been complaints the feature can inadvertently lead kids to unsuitable content.

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In a blog post, YouTube’s head of kids Greg Dray said the company tried to make all the videos available through the app child-friendly, but it also relied on parents flagging unsuitable content for anything that slipped through the cracks.

Some of the other features designed to appeal to parents include:

  • A timer. Designed to automatically limit childrens’ screen time
  • No ‘account’ features. The app doesn’t enable kids to upload, share or like videos
  • Quiet mode. Parents can shut off music and sound effects when the noise gets too much
  • Custom passcodes. Adults can use the feature to access app settings and other information

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Peppa Source: YouTube

Roll commercials

While the app is free, the company makes money through ads that run between videos as is the case with other YouTube products.

However in the US it has come under fire from consumer groups for exposing very young children to covert advertising that wouldn’t clear general broadcast standards.

The videos provided to children on YouTube Kids intermix commercial and other content in ways that are deceptive and unfair to children and would not be permitted to be shown on broadcast or cable television,” they said in an April complaint.

Ads for products that aren’t ‘family-friendly’, like food and drinks, are banned from the official commercials, but there are no such controls for user-generated content which may effectively be ads in disguise.

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About the author:

Peter Bodkin  / Editor, Fora

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