App of the Week: YouTube Kids

YouTube Kids
Publisher: Google
Platform: Android, iOS
Price: Free!

What did we do before the age of the Internet and television when it came to getting the kids out of our hair for a few hours? Was there ever a time when children played outside or ran off with friends to have adventures? Is it just me or are the little buggers born with touch-enabled devices attached to their little grabbers?

Well, I suppose it doesn't much matter. It's the way of the future! Kids and tablets! Kids and phones! Kids and all the abhorrent things the Internet has to offer.

I'll be the first to admit that my YouTube account curates some fairly screwy videos. As such, I wasn't inclined to let my toddler use it to watch videos of monster trucks, trains, and nursery rhymes. After all, who knows what will pop up on the auto play? On the flip side of that, going into YouTube without any account can be just as dangerous due to what is trending. As such, when it came time to binge watch hours of monster trucks squishing cars, I had to take control of what was playing next. And, as any parent will tell you, most children's programming is absolutely mind-numbing (except you, Haunted House Monster Truck).

So, when I stumbled upon a dedicated YouTube Kids app, I was thrilled. The app will curate videos in selected age groups, plays them in full screen, and allows downloading for offline viewing (perfect for car rides!). Additionally, it is tied to the parent's YouTube account, so there is a full record of what has been played. Search can be turned off, and the additional parental controls are easy to configure.

It's been great for my little guy and he hasn't had a complaint when using it on a phone or tablet. My only complaint is that Peppa Pig is now slowly invading my life.