YouTube Kids

App review by Patricia Monticello Kievlan, Common Sense Media
YouTube Kids Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 7+

Solid parental controls help sort variable videos.

Parents say

age 9+

Based on 89 reviews

Kids say

age 7+

Based on 205 reviews

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Community Reviews

age 18+

I'm an education researcher and parent. YouTube Kids is poison.

Hi, educational researcher and preschooler parent here. I will never judge a parent who allow their children to watch YouTube Kids. It's nearly inescapable and parents are more pressed for resources than ever before. That said, there is no worse "children's" content on the web. Even with the reforms they've made in the wake of Elsagate (a source of trauma for millions of children), YTK still represents a genuine threat to children's emotional and cognitive development, and it hurts me deeply that it remains the distraction of choice for parents. Putting aside all of the issues associated with excessive screen time in general, I'll instead focus on just the quality of programming found on the platform. I just spent a few hours watching random, recent content from the top 10 most subscribed children's channeled on YouTube Kids. The content universally reflects YouTube's general objective to maximize engagement. Like a drug, it goes for the dopamine hit with quick cuts, excessively bright colors, and repetitive motion. Even as an adult who obviously hates this stuff, I felt hypnotized at times. The idea seems to be for children to disengage entirely from thought and engage fully with the app by staying on it until someone finally pulls it away. There's the obvious issue of cynical advertising. Whereas good children's content takes children seriously, and plays to their boundless curiosity, YTK creators see children as nothing more than ad-clickers to drive revenue. So much of the live-action content is overtly centered around specific products. It's sickening. Then there's the messaging. A lot of live-action content is based on the theme of being "good" or "bad" - potentially damaging to a child's emerging self-image. Punishment, which can be confusing by itself for a young child, is made all the more-so by content that shows children being put in jail for "disobedience." I could go on, but I'm tired. I can't believe YouTube Kids, in its current form, is legal. I leave you with this - the children's programming on PBS Kids is almost universally high-quality. It's free, has a great child-friendly interface, and is as easy to access as Googling "PBS Kids video." The best screen time is no screen time, but if you must, go ANYWHERE but YouTube Kids.

This title has:

Too much consumerism
7 people found this helpful.
age 14+

the worst app for kids

i don’t even know where to start on this one but let’s just say the app is horrible. as i looked over this app i have came across inappropriate videos, violent videos, videos with bad language included, and smoking on here. the inappropriate videos were stuff like barbies having sex and disgusting animations of disney princesses and my little pony characters sticking their butt into the camera and pulling their underwear off with the title of the video being “MLP put your ass in the air” and stuff like that. there was violent videos i’ve seen on here of stuff like this girl playing with my little pony toys and pinkie pie goes around killing other ponies, there was 30 episodes of it and strong language was included. there was strange videos of people recording kids and asking stuff like “what are the cuss words that you know?” and they were obviously making the kids very uncomfortable. there were even videos with the title “spoiled kids getting owned” and the videos included short clips of kids swearing and destroying stores and stuff and then getting beaten by their parents. there was even a video of a woman walking through a park and comes across a 8 and 6 year old smoking a pack of cigarettes and the woman just sat there and recorded it. just don’t download this for your kids

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
4 people found this helpful.

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