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How kid-friendly is the YouTube Kids app?

The YouTube Kids app is definitely more kid-friendly than YouTube itself, but you may not want to totally let your kids loose on it at first. While the company is using more human monitors to review and curate videos, the app is still technically a portal to the main YouTube service and age-inappropriate videos can make it through the app's algorithm. YouTube Kids also runs ads, which has drawn criticism from consumer watchdog groups.

On the plus side, the YouTube Kids app is pretty simple, which reduces risks for kids. It has no interactive features (such as the ability to chat or post videos from the app), so kids can't have contact with other people. And it offers a few useful parental controls: You can turn off search, which limits kids' exposure to age-inappropriate content; you can set a time limit for kids to play on the app; and you can block videos, which helps the app know what types of videos you prefer to see. To be fair, YouTube Kids explains that there's potential for age-inappropriate content to slip through. It also recommends parents actively manage search settings to lessen any risks.

The safest way to let your kids use YouTube Kids is to supervise, watch together, and encourage kids to tell you if they see something weird, so you can take care of it. You can also try these other online streaming video services for kids.