YouTube Kids app offers child-safe ads and shows

Google has launched YouTube Kids in the US, an app that offers child-friendly content and potentially ads.

YouTube Kids: featuring child-friendly content such as Sesame Street
YouTube Kids: featuring child-friendly content such as Sesame Street

YouTube Kids gives parents more control over what their children watch, with content from DreamWorks, Sesame Street and Thomas the Tank Engine. The app also allows access to content from online-only outlets such as science education channel SciShow

In a post introducing the app, neither Google nor YouTube mention whether there will be ads on YouTube Kids. A report in the Wall Street Journal suggests the app will eventually carry ads, but these would first need to be approved by Google. Google declined to comment.

The Federal Trade Commission currently has strict privacy rules in relation to US kids' activity online, meaning partner brands would have to tread carefully if advertising on YouTube Kids. Advertisers are not permitted to track or use targeting, meaning they cannot use geo-location data or behavioural information without parents' consent. 

Google has not said which age group the app is targeted for, though the partnerships suggest younger children, rather than young teenagers. The company said the app had been redesigned for "small thumbs and pudgy fingers".

Pavni Diwanji, Google's VP of Engineering, said more child-safe versions of Google products would follow.

YouTube Kids is available on Google Play and the App Store. Google has not commented on whether the app will roll out beyond the US.