October 2, 2015
YouTube is cleaning up the act of its Kids’ app after being lambasted for inappropriate content — such as videos teaching children how to tie a noose, or use a nail gun to shoot someone in the head — surfacing during searches.
Parents will also be prompted to choose if they wish to allow their children to do searches or turn the function off.
“Turn search on to access millions of family-friendly videos, or turn search off to restrict your child’s experience to a more limited set,” YouTube said in a blog post. “Either way, parents decide the right experience for their family from the get-go.
“We always try to make the videos available in the app family-friendly, but no system is perfect,” the company added. “So if you ever find a video you’re concerned about, please flag it. This helps make YouTube Kids better for everyone.”
Parents will now also be able to set a personal passcode, rather than a spelled-out code via parental controls.
The changes, which will roll out “in the coming weeks,” come nearly five months after a number of advocacy groups demanded Google recall the app.
The groups discovered a number of inappropriate videos including clips with My Little Pony-themed pedophilia jokes, a video discussing hard-core pornography and a Bert and Ernie video dubbed over with a foul-mouthed argument from mobster movie Casino.
The groups sent a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission in April requesting an anti-trust investigation into Google’s advertising practices in connection with its YouTube Kids app. But the groups — Change.org, Center for Digital Democracy (CDD), Consumer Watchdog, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry — expanded the complaint in late May, asking the FTC to look into the inappropriate content as well.
The FTC has not said if it will probe the matter.
Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.