Statistically adults spend more time watching YouTube than cable television. Shocked? Let me ask you this. If adults spend that much time watching YouTube, what do you think their children are watching? Yup. YouTube. According to Shimrit Ben-Yair, a group product manager at Google, YouTube’s family entertainment channels saw a 200% growth in views since the previous year.
I’m included in that statistic. We don’t even have cable in our home. We look to our iPads for viewing almost all of our entertainment. And now that I have a toddler, this has increased dramatically. Honestly, I’ve never seen more animal videos and Sesame Street!
But YouTube is also a very, how shall I say, obscene and volatile platform. This is a concern for me as a parent, and a cause for concern for many church leaders I talk to who cite the unsafe video environment as reason enough not to get involved.
If you fit either group – or somewhere between – news just broke that you might find interesting. YouTube is releasing a brand new YouTube for Kids app (first on Android devices and later on iOS devices).
According to an article I saw on Forbes, the app will be released on Android the week of February 23, and it’ll only provide kid-friendly content such as Sesame Street, Thomas the Tank Engine, Reading Rainbow and so on. In addition to this YouTube is planning to launch an original YouTube series for kids called uTech “which will focus on next generation technologies.” (All the more reason for churches to embrace this technological age… the future opportunities are immeasurable!)
Comments on the app will be disabled so that kids will not be exposed to profanity, and parents will be able to control the app with a password. They can set the app with a timer causing it to shut down after a set period of time. This way parents can limit the amount of time their children will spend on the app.
The app of course is not perfect (recall for example Katy Perry’s shameful appearance with Elmo on Sesame Street) and I would like to see Google take steps to clean up YouTube’s environment in general, at least for certain segments of the population. But I’m thrilled that Google has taken this step.
Question: Is this something you would encourage the people in your circle of influence to download for their children? You can leave a comment by clicking here.