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YouTube Kids, Criticized for Content, Introduces New Parental Controls

26 April 2018, 12:41 | Clyde Nash

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Both the grown-up video service and the YouTube Kids app have been criticized by child advocates for their commercialism and for the failures of a screening system that relies on artificial intelligence. The updated tools arrive after a controversy dubbed 'Elsagate' emerged late previous year, during which a slew of inappropriate videos were discovered to be targeting children, leading to a purge of channels amid outcry by advertisers and a pledge on YouTube's part to do better.

YouTube Kids is a separate app for smartphones and tablets that provides access to a subset of the videos available on the main site. YouTube said these videos had been flagged for inappropriate content ranging from sexual (30.1 per cent), spam or misleading (26.4 per cent), hateful or abusive (15.6 per cent), violent or repulsive (13.5 per cent) among other reasons.

As Engadget notes, YouTube has been under fire since previous year after it was discovered that contents masquerading as videos for children actually contained extremely inappropriate images and topics. This change is an effort to let parents be the final decider when it comes to what they feel comfortable letting their children view.

Jennifer Harris, the mother of a middle schooler, told CNBC that she used to make her son show her every video he wanted to watch on YouTube Kids before it started.

Google says it will add new parental controls to its YouTube Kids app, after inappropriate videos were repeatedly discovered on the service. With this option, YouTube trusted and the YouTube Kids team will offer collections of trusted channels on a variety of subjects from arts & crafts and music to sports, learning, and so much more. Beser went on to add, "While no system is ideal, we continue to fine-tune, rigorously test and improve our filters for this more open version of our app".

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New features in the YouTube Kids app.

The company is working on rolling out three significant updates that will go live in 2018.

A non-algorithmic, white-listed version of the Kids app has been something that parents have been calling for.

The Google team today announced three new features for the popular YouTube Kids app that it says will give parents even more control around the content that can be accessed by the kids-friendly app.

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