It is no secret that kids today LOVE YouTube. My kids don’t even watch regular TV anymore (even though we have all the channels). They love to watch YouTube Videos though. So, I asked some kids, including my own, what they love so much about watching YouTube videos. The top answers were …
1. Entertainment – YouTube is definitely chock full of entertainment goodies. Whether it’s a hilarious cat video, or just a kid coming off of anesthesia, you are sure to find something to make you laugh on YouTube.
2. Game Play – This is the one that my kids probably watch the most. I’ll never understand why it can be more entertaining to watch someone ELSE play a video game that you can just walk over and play yourself… but that’s neither here nor there. Game Play videos are huge on YouTube, especially Minecraft videos. My kids like watching the Minecraft videos (and other game play videos) to find tips/tricks/mods/etc that they can then apply to their own game.
3. Learning – They also look up how to do things, like science experiments, LEGO projects, math help, how to do their hair, and for my daughter paleontology videos.
4. Christmas Day – I call this the “Christmas Day” factor. Where they watch other kids open stuff. I believe it’s because they get that feeling like they are opening a present too. It’s also why unboxing videos are popular with adults. We like to pretend that WE are opening it!
While my kids, and for sure YOUR kids love YouTube videos. I hated that they loved it so much. I was always nervous about the things they might come across while browsing around on YouTube. While there isn’t any nudity in the regular YouTube, there is DEFINITELY inappropriate content for a child. My kids were never allowed to browse YouTube with headphones, or when an adult was not in the room. Even in that situation, I would still cringe when they wanted to browse YouTube.
So, last week Google released a brand new app called YouTube Kids. I’ve spent some time with the app now, and can say that I’m super impressed with it. I first feared that it would be too limited like other video applications, and they wouldn’t want to view the content, and would just go right back to regular YouTube. I was pleasantly surprised that they were still able to browse for, and find their favorite channels.
The user interface is extremely simple and easy for small kids to navigate. You can browse through the various channels and find really great content, or you can do like my son, and search for exactly what you are looking for…
My only complaints so far, are first, the parental control area where you can set a time limit and other things like that is behind a PIN code that changes but tells you what the code is in written out words. So it will say Nine, Five, Two, Six. Then you type in 9526 and you are in. I would love to be able to set that myself and NOT have it written out. My 5 year old was reading chapter books at 3…. that’s not going to fool him one bit, and he could easily sign in and give himself more time. Luckily, I have other controls in place the lock out devices when their time is up.
My other complaint isn’t necessarily a complaint, but more of a suggestion. I’d love the kids to be able to “favorite” or even “subscribe” to various channels so they can click one button and have all of their favorite channels right there.
Other than that, we really love the app. It’s definitely geared towards kids under 6ish, but my 9 year old has been enjoying it as well. I really feel much more confident with the browsing through this app then the regular YouTube, so THANKS Google! We love it!
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Sarah Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 16 years of her career as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on KSL News, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com