YouTube is going to release a Kids app that relies on humans for its algorithm, not a computer. This will be a whitelisted variant of its existing YouTube Kids app and is a way to help parents and children avoid questionable content.
The modified version of the app will only feature videos from channels hand-selected by a team of human curators and those that have gone through the company's approval process.
YouTube Kids Whitelisted
The whitelisted version will coexist with the algorithm-based YouTube Kids app. Parents have the option to choose between the two. The decision comes amid increasing scrutiny over controversial content on the site being shown to children, including conspiracy theory videos and inappropriate depictions of animated characters.
The YouTube Kids homepage says that the app makes it "safer and simpler for kids to explore the world through online video." However, it also admits that "no system is perfect and inappropriate videos can slip through."
Controversial Videos On YouTube Kids
In a report last month, Business Insider highlighted how YouTube Kids recommends disturbing content to children, such as videos brimmed with false information and conspiracists arguing the Earth is flat and the moon landing was faked. Also, last year, YouTube was hit with a wave of complaints involving the character Elsa from 2013's Frozen. At the time there was a huge outpouring of content featuring Disney characters engineered to trick YouTube's algorithm and acquire lots of views.
Needless to say that the modified app won't show videos with problems similar to those that have shown up on YouTube Kids in the past, including profane language, sexual themes, and pedophilia jokes.
BuzzFeed reports the whitelisted YouTube Kids app could launch in the next few weeks. For parents, this is a great way to ensure their children won't descend into the disturbing corners of the internet. They can at least feel comfortable that their children won't stumble upon anything disturbing and inappropriate for their age.
When asked about the whitelisted version of YouTube Kids, the company didn't outright confirm its existence, but it didn't deny it, either:
"We are always working to update and improve YouTube Kids, however we don't comment on rumor or speculation."
The main YouTube Kids app is available on Android and iOS. It's supposed to offer kid-friendly content to YouTube's younger target audience. It offers parental controls and video filters, plus parents have the ability to set a password so their children don't accidentally stumble upon potentially unsuitable content.