YouTube Kids is now available outside the US and is doing very well. Parents all over the world are quite supportive, with the app hitting more than 10 million downloads as evidence.
The child-friendlier version of YouTube is now available in five new countries: United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Despite all the controversies surrounding YouTube Kids, parents and their kids love that the app. Aside from hitting more than 10 million downloads in both the iOS and Android platforms, the videos there are demonstrating massive watch time. According to YouTube, a compilation of nursery rhymes, featuring childhood favorites such as "Wheels on the Bus" and "This Old Man," which ran for 54 minutes, garnered more views than the famous "Gangnam Style" by Psy. It is now set to reach more than a billion views.
It could be remembered that before this expansion internationally, the app did not have a smooth-sailing time in the United States. Earlier this year, the app has been reportedly criticized for engaging in deceptive practices and for showing users with inappropriate content.
YouTube was sued by two consumer groups: The Center for Digital Democracy and The Campaign for A Commercial-Free Childhood as well. According to the two groups, who filed a video complained with the FTC, there were instances where some YouTube Kids app showed videos with sex, drugs, abuse, and pedophilia content. In the app's defense, most of these instances occurred in classic Warner Brothers cartoons, but the two groups were not convinced to lay off YouTube's case.
In a separate incident, the two groups also joined forces with the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry to file a complaint against YouTube because of ads in the kid's app. According to the group, advertising violates children's programming rules.
On the part of YouTube, videos included in the app are said to be carefully selected and curated. The problem is said to be with a search feature in the app that allows children to find videos not specially selected for the app but have not been flagged as being inappropriate by other app users. Parents have the option to disable this feature, but some parents claimed that this is not enough for them to feel completely secure.
Still, with the existence of the app, there has been a remarkable surge in children and family programming. Most of these were inspired by the presence of this dedicated app.