In an attempt to assuage growing concerns from parents, YouTube has announced new parental controls on its app, YouTube Kids, that are designed to keep children from accidentally viewing disturbing videos. The new features allow parents to “lock down” the app so that children can only access channels reviewed by actual humans ⏤ no more videos recommended by an algorithm.
To utilize the new controls, parents will need to “opt-in” and turn them on using the settings controls. Once activated, the app will automatically restrict unapproved videos. That said, parents still can’t completely control what their children watch, at least not yet. According to Tech Crunch, YouTube eventually plans to allow parents to specifically pick which videos and channels are allowed to view.
The newest update comes in response to criticism YouTube Kids has faced since its launch in 2015. Namely, that it’s a “kid-friendly” app that often exposes children to inappropriate content including videos of popular kid’s characters, like Elsa or Spiderman, going on murderous rampages or turning into zombies. YouTube has made efforts to crack down on disturbing content by hiring screeners to delete hundreds of thousands of videos, and this newest set of parental controls represents another major step in creating a safe space for kids.