Already popular among teenagers, YouTube released a new kid friendly app with content for children. According to YouTube, year over year they have seen 200% growth in viewing time on their family entertainment channels. The app by Google will run on smartphones and tablets featuring original episodes of popular television shows for preschoolers, including Thomas the Tank Engine and Sesame Street, as well as content from the kid-safe channels already featured on YouTube. Great news for parents, now steering kids away from the not so sometimes safe content that shows up accidentally accessed by youngsters with limited user knowledge of the platform. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUmMAAPX6E8
Parents who want to limit their child’s screen time can control the app’s settings through a password; when a set amount of time is up, the app turns off and can’t be started again without the password.
One important emerging issue is consumer privacy in marketing to children through mobile apps. According to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) some apps might:
- Collect and share personal information
- Let your kids spend real money — even if the app is free
- Include ads
- Link to social media
What can you do to protect you and your family through mobile apps?
- Learn more about an app before you download it, look at screen shots, read the description, content rating and any user reviews, and do some research on the developer.
- You also can look up outside reviews from sources you respect. Before you pass the phone or tablet to your kids, take a look at your settings.
- You may be able to restrict content to what’s right for your kid’s age, set a password so apps can’t be downloaded without it, and set a password so your kids can’t buy stuff without it.
- You also can turn off Wi-Fi and data services or put your phone on airplane mode so it can’t connect to the Internet.
Among other rules, websites that cater to children must notify parents if they collect personal information. What do you think is the best way to keep up with kids’ apps?