There's some relief on the way for parents who worry what their young children may be watching on the internet. YouTube is set to release a new app that will offer more age-appropriate viewing for kids. An official with YouTube says the app - YouTube Kids - is due to be released by Google on Monday. It will initially be available only on Android devices.
A screen shot of the new app shows a simple and brightly colored layout. There are five icons which let children choose, among other things, between TV shows, music or search. Engadget.Com says younger kids, who can't type, can search with their voice. Unlike the regular YouTube home page, there's no comments section.
The screen shot highlights some of the shows that will be available, including Sesame Street, Mother Goose Club and Thomas the Tank Engine. YouTube says there will also be selections from DreamWorks TV, National Geographic Kids, and the puppet masters at the Jim Henson Company.
YouTube says the app was tested by children and family advocacy groups, and will include a timer that will limit the length a child can watch. The app will also allow parents to turn sound and search on and off.
According to USA Today, Google was responding to parents' ongoing concerns about what their young children were watching. The newspaper quotes Shimrit Ben-Yair, the app's project manager. She says "family-friendly fare is a booming buisness on YouTube." Ben-Yair says year after year, the company has seen 50% growth in viewing time on YouTube, but it's around 200% for family entertainment channels.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Google will have to comply with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, which is overseen by the Federal Trade Commission.