Yesterday, we spent the day at London Zoo to celebrate the recent UK and Ireland launch of the new YouTube Kids app. We had been trying out the YouTube Kids app for a few days beforehand with 6 year old Freddy, and were excited to spend the day with the YouTube team along with some favourite TV characters and some real life animals from the zoo.
The YouTube Kids app is a bright and colourful, kid-friendly version of YouTube for tablets and smart phones, available for free from Google Play or the App Store. With access to videos featuring nursery rhymes and songs, educational videos on topics such as maths, science and space as well as TV favourites such as Peppa Pig, Morph, Talking Tom, Postman Pat, Thomas and the Octonauts, there are countless hours of quality videos available. With large images and bold icons it is easy for little ones to navigate, allowing them to safely search and explore exciting content to entertain and educate them. An impressive voice search feature allows children to search for their favourite characters and shows, allowing independence and giving them access to a world of possibilities.
Content is listed in four categories: Shows, Music, Learning and Explore, bringing a host of family-friendly entertainment into an easy to browse format. Children can browse channels and playlists or search for something of particular interest to them.
Freddy loves being able to access his favourite videos and search for things that interest him such as Minecraft, Annoying Orange and Battle for Dream Island! He even did a search on London Zoo, the night before we attended the event, so he knew what to expect. As a parent, I am confident that he won't accidentally stumble across anything inappropriate (such as the 18 rated, expletive ridden, dubbed episode of Dora the Explorer we found him watching at age 3!) The platform is safe, age appropriate and, as it doesn't need the child to have an account, allows them to have a logged out experience free from the dangers of interacting with strangers online.
The YouTube Kids app has built in parental controls allowing the grown-ups to take charge of their child's experience by controlling broader search settings or using a built in timer to limit a child's screen time. As no platform can be guaranteed 100% perfect, there is an option to flag up anything that may concern you, making YouTube Kids safer for everyone. YouTube Kids can also be viewed on the TV using a Chromecast, Apple TV, games console or a smart TV, so the whole family can watch together.
The event at London Zoo was every bit as bright, bold, colourful, interactive and entertaining as the app itself! Ian and I, along with Freddy, Megan and Kezia arrived at the zoo early and spent a lovely hour wandering around the Bug House and the Penguins before checking in to the event itself. The venue had been transformed into a child-friendly wonderland with a wild animal theme, which was so inviting and exciting for the little ones. We were spoiled with some delicious food, given marvelous animal make-up and kept well and truly entertained.
Freddy absolutely loved taking part in all the activities. He met reindeer, a llama, meerkats, an armadillo and an owl in up close animal encounters. He met and hugged Postman Pat, Talking Tom & Ginger and Captain Barnacles. He had his face painted with an incredible tiger design and dressed up in a tiger costume. He played in an Octanauts themed ball pond, challenged his dad to a game of Hungry Hippos, played with some great cuddly toy animals, sat in the musical singing bus, enjoyed some really fabulous food and of course played on the YouTube Kids app on the special iPads. It was a brilliant family friendly event!
The YouTube Kids app is designed for children between 3 and 8 years old, providing a safe online experience with rich content especially for younger viewers. It is fun to use and easy to navigate. I am really impressed with the app and love that Freddy can explore video content independently online, discovering new shows, learning new things and accessing videos on topics that interest him safely. It is great for when we are out and about, visiting grandparents or away for the night, guaranteeing that he has something fun to watch to keep him entertained whenever needed. I applaud YouTube for creating such an exciting and interactive app that kids will not only love using, but will also help keep them safer online, protecting them from viewing inappropriate content.