YouTube lancia la nuova app per bambini in Irlanda e Regno Unito. Lo riferisce il ‘The Guardian’ in un articolo in cui spiega che YouTube Kids, così si chiama l’applicazione sviluppata dalla nota piattaforma web per la condivisione di video, fa il suo debuto oltremanica 9 mesi dopo essere stata inaugurata negli Stati Uniti, dove più di 10 milioni di genitori l’hanno già scaricata.
YouTube Kids opera come un filtro che permette ai bambini che utilizzano la piattaforma di accedere esclusivamente a quei video e canali YouTube i cui contenuti siano stati preventivamente approvati come appropriati per loro. L’app neutralizza anche, tramite un’apposita interfaccia grafica, le caratteristiche social e di condivisione di YouTube, nonchè impossibilita il bambino ad effettuare il caricamento di video; e blocca la possibilità di effettuare ricerche inappropriate, come, per esmpio, quelle che contengono la parola “sesso”.
YouTube Kids, inoltre, nella sua versione inglese e irlandese, punta a valorizzare la visibilità di canali locali, includendo, per esempio, famosi brand per bambini come Morph, Teletubbies, Wallace & Gromit o The Magic Roundabout.
Infine, è prevista la possibilità per i genitori di mettere una bandierina (flag) su quei contenuti che loro stessi ritengono non essere adeguati per i loro figli, spegnendoli di fatto alla loro possibilità di visione.
YouTube is launching its YouTube Kids app in the UK and Ireland, nine months after its child-friendly service went live in the US.
More than 10 million American parents have downloaded the app, which serves up a filtered selection of videos and channels that are appropriate for children.
The app also removes social features like comments and the ability to upload videos; has a built-in timer to limit how long children can use it; and blocks inappropriate search terms including “sex”.
The UK and Irish version of YouTube Kids emphasises local channels, including famous children’s brands like Morph, Teletubbies, Wallace & Gromit and The Magic Roundabout.
However, they sit alongside digital brands like nursery-rhymes channel Little Baby Bum, Minecraft gamer Stampy and app-inspired cartoon series Talking Tom and Friends.
As in the US, the app is a free download for Android and iOS devices, but will make its money from advertisements running in between the videos.
That has been controversial in the US, with several consumer-rights organisations calling for regulator the Federal Trade Commission to investigate YouTube Kids over its use of ads.
“We only show ads that are approved as family-friendly – for example, we don’t show any food and beverage ads – and all ads undergo a rigorous review process for compliance with our policies,” a YouTube spokesperson told the Guardian.
“All ads are clearly labeled and include ad intros. Ads don’t include any click-throughs to websites or product purchase flows.”
Some US complaints have focused on a different issue: the question of whether some popular channels – particularly those that focus on unboxing toys – blur the lines between entertainment and advertising too much, even if suggestions that some of these channels are being paid by toy companies to feature their products have yet to be proven.
YouTube Kids has also faced questions about whether it is tracking the viewing habits of its young users. YouTube describes it as a “signed-out experience” because the app does not require a parent or child to sign in to their existing Google or YouTube account.
However, YouTube Kids does collect data on the videos watched by individual children, for a recommendations feature that suggests videos they might like based on their habits.
The app also has a feature enabling parents to “flag” videos that they think are inappropriate for children, but have avoided YouTube Kids’ filtering algorithms.
“We always try to make the videos available in the app family-friendly, but no system is perfect. So if you ever find a video you’re concerned about, please flag it,” wrote YouTube’s head of kids and learning partnerships Greg Dray in a blog post.
YouTube already has a huge audience of children watching videos on its service. In October, 20 of the 50 most popular YouTube channels were aimed at children, and those 20 channels generated more than 5.2bn video views that month alone.
British channel Little Baby Bum was top of the children’s pile – and the third biggest channel on YouTube overall – with 428.5m video views in October.
It has just overtaken One Direction as the most-watched British channel of all time, while its Wheels on the Bus compilation recently dethroned Psy’s Gangnam Style as the biggest YouTube video by watch-time (if not views).
“If you think about any child that’s aged 13 or under nowadays, more and more you’ll see they don’t watch TV,” said Little Baby Bum’s co-founder Derek Holder, who launched the channel with his wife in 2011.
“In any kind of media industry – radio, TV or movies – there’s a filter of the big companies who decide ultimately what you will hear or see. YouTube removes those filters to an extent and makes it a level playing field.”
Aardman is an example of a company from the traditional children’s TV world using YouTube to reach its audience in new ways, including the return of classic claymation character Morph in 2014, funded by a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign.
Morph will be among the featured channels for YouTube Kids in the UK and Ireland. “It’s a whole new space in which we can reach new fans,” said Alix Wiseman, Aardman’s head of sales and acquisitions.
“We’re reaching new audiences through a new platform and a new channel, with new content that we’ve been able to make, but based on an Aardman brand that was built 40 years ago. It’s brilliant that YouTube have seen this opportunity.”
The top 20 YouTube children’s channels (Oct 2015)
Little Baby Bum – 428.5m video views
Baby Big Mouth – 406m
Masha and the Bear – 382.7m
Fun Toyz Collector – 381.2m
Family Fun Pack – 331.5m
Ryan’s Toys Review – 327.1m
Get Movies – 323.9m
Chu Chu TV – 285.8m
Disney Car Toys – 274m
The Diamond Minecart – 259.7m
Blu Toys – 226.3m
Miss Katy – 203.6m
Surprise Eggs Unboxing Toys – 192.5m
Toy Pudding – 190.3m
Disney Cars Toys Club – 185.4m
Mister Max – 180.3m
Mother Goose Club – 178.4m
Hobby Kids TV – 171.5m
El Reino Infantil – 166.7m
Toys and Funny Kids Surprise Eggs – 164.7m
(Source: OpenSlate / Tubefilter)