YouTube Kids now officially has the option to display only videos that have been curated by hand, with actual humans behind the scenes. This whitelist approach stands in stark contrast to the way that the app has operated up until now, with the same algorithms that help filter YouTube content responsible for determining what videos can and cannot show up on the service. Humans only came into the process when a video was either flagged for review by YouTube's AI, or a human put a flag on the video with the intent of having staff look at it and possibly remove it. In this newly offered mode, kids will only be able to find and view videos that have been personally vetted and approved by YouTube staff.
The My Kids menu is where you'll find the new option. Under each individual kid's name, you'll be able to choose whether they can only watch curated content, or if they're free to watch whatever the algorithm deems is kid-friendly. Google did not specify an exact date for when further updates may drop, but more updates to expand on this functionality will be coming in the near future. This will reportedly be happening in stages over the rest of this year. One will add in a number of categories and topics, allowing parents to allow and disallow certain ones, such as gaming, sports, and more, on a per-kid basis. Parents will eventually be able to be the sole authority on what their kids watch, with the whitelist controls handed over fully to parents. Finally, taking away the ability to search in the app will now trigger the whitelist behavior.
These new features and behaviors for the YouTube Kids app are part of YouTube's ongoing effort to crack down on inappropriate content reaching children. While kids that are technically inclined may find a way around the YouTube Kids app's new protections or even the app itself, these changes will be a big help for parents who have younger children, or kids who are content to watch what's handed to them but may have had troubles with stumbling over inappropriate, objectionable, or just plain strange content on YouTube Kids in the past.