YouTube Kids promises safer choices for kids, parental controls

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Earlier this month, it a consortium of consumer rights and privacy groups filed an FTC complaint against YouTube, alleging that its main YouTube site, not YouTube Kids, collects children's data without parental consent, in violation of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act or COPPA. In addition to the comments, some YouTubers were posting disturbing and sometimes violent videos with keywords targeting kids.

James Beser, product director for YouTube Kids, said said: "From collections of channels from trusted partners to enabling parents to select each video and channel themselves, we're putting parents in the driver's seat like never before".

Parents will be able to choose between human-curated playlists and letting YouTube's algorithms decide what children get to watch in the app.

Parents will be given a choice to offer their young children a collection of channels, featuring content from Sesame Street, PBS and Kidzbop, with specific topics of interest like education, homework help, arts and crafts and science.

Now the app is adding new settings to give parents more control over what videos their kids can see.

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In a blog detailing the work it's doing to enforce its community guidelines, YouTube said the removed videos represented a "fraction of a percent of YouTube's total views" during the final three months of a year ago.

Finally, turning search off will now limit the YouTube Kids experience to channels that have been verified by the YouTube Kids team.

"It's been clear for a long time now that algorithmic filtering on YouTube Kids doesn't work and giving parents the ability to select more human-reviewed content is an improvement", Golin said.

The company is working on rolling out three significant updates that will go live in 2018. The third and final feature is "Improved search-off control for an even more contained experience" where parents can turn off the search feature in the app, limiting the app experience to channels that have been verified by the YouTube Kids team. As part of that initiative, the company laid out three new safety features that it will roll out to the YouTube Kids app over the current year.

It's the kind of control parents have been asking for from the popular app, but it also puts the onus on them to filter content.

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