There’s a lot of drama surrounding YouTube Kids recently, and rightly so. The app is a cesspool of content. Some of the content is totally kosher, sure, but thanks to related videos and tech savvy toddlers, your child can start watching something parent-approved and then end up on a very sick video without your knowledge.
There is lots of pirated, re-appropriated content on YouTube Kids. Young children who are unable to distinguish trusted, brand-created content from algorithmically recommend keyword salad are subject to confusing, mind-numbing nightmare fuel, chopped and screwed via automation to generate revenue for content farms. Scammers are gaming the system and targeting the most vulnerable audience imaginable, and YouTube is complicit in all of it to maximize profit.
Another article that describes the problem well is this one from the New York Times. You can also do a quick Google search for “YouTube Kids” and discover tons more write-ups diving into this problem. Chances are that if you’re a parent you’ve heard about the drama surrounding YouTube Kids this week and promptly deleted the app from your phone.
So what’s a mom or dad to do? Well, the wise parents of Winnie shared their favorite alternatives to YouTube Kids. We’ve compiled the top 5 for you below. Without further ado, here are the top 5 most practical, safest alternatives to YouTube Kids.
5. Curate your own content
It turns out there’s a lot of safe, age-appropriate content for kids out there with varying degrees of educational value. By individually selecting the shows that suit your fancy, you can be in control of exactly what content your children are consuming. So where do you start? Check out these great shows Winnie parents love for their kids. You can find most of these shows on iTunes, Amazon Prime, or Hulu.
4. Don’t want to waste time curating content? There’s apps for that.
You can use a highly curated app like PBS KIDS Video or DisneyNOW where the content has been produced by the brand, not any random content creator looking to make a buck. The PBS KIDS app even has a feature to let you watch live TV, so there’s always something fresh and new.
3. Leverage your Netflix subscription
Do you have a Netflix subscription? Turns out it’s not just for Stranger Things and Orange is the New Black, they also have lots of kids content on there too (think Moana). Even better, they built a way to login and see only kid-friendly content. You can read more about their kid-friendly controls here.
2. Hack YouTube
Can’t breakup with YouTube completely? That’s ok, you don’t have to. Use the real YouTube app and buy a subscription to YouTube Red. Now you can curate your own videos by saving the ones you trust to offline mode. Put your phone or tablet in airplane mode before handing it to your kids. They’ll only be able to watch the videos you’ve saved for them. Cesspool problem solved.
1. Try gaming apps instead
Games can be more entertaining than videos and they’re interactive, which means that even though it’s screen time, it’s better for your little one’s developing mind. You can find apps that will teach your kid everything from their ABCs to a new language. Check out the Toca Boca apps for a variety of different games.
Posted by Sara Mauskopf
Sara Mauskopf is the co-founder and CEO of Winnie. She’s also the mom of two young daughters and another child on the way! Originally from Philadelphia, she now lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area.