In brief: Most kids that do watch YouTube Kids tend to switch over to the main app before they hit the age of 13 and once they leave, they don’t come back. Jenny Radesky, a University of Michigan assistant professor of pediatrics and an expert on childhood development, said that once kids “let the genie out of the bottle with YouTube main,” it is hard for them to go back. YouTube Kids often feels too baby-ish or restrictive afterwards, she added.
YouTube Kids, the youth-focused version of Google’s video sharing platform with a slant towards kid-friendly content, has spent more than four years creating a safe haven for younger viewers. Through its curated selection of content, parental controls and improved recommendation engine, YouTube has invested heavily in making YouTube Kids a place that offers parents peace of mind.
The problem, it seems, is that not many people are convinced.
A spokesperson for YouTube Kids told Bloomberg that more than 20 million people utilize the platform each week. That may sound like a lot but in comparison, the main YouTube app boasts more than two billion monthly users.
Despite facing heavy criticism regarding toxic videos and backlash regarding how it handles the matter, YouTube isn’t being forced to make any immediate changes. According to Insight Strategy Group, a full 97 percent of children have used YouTube with kids between the ages of five and 12 reporting they spend more time on YouTube than anywhere else online.
Masthead credit: YouTube Kids by Myndalion