TORONTO — On the ninth floor of Google’s impressive downtown Toronto campus, young children romp under multicoloured parachutes, sing songs — and clutch tablet screens.
YouTube, the Google-owned video-sharing website, is launching YouTube Kids, an app designed for children watching online content.
“It’s a big deal for us, we are excited to bring the YouTube Kids app,” said Angela Lin head of kids and learning for YouTube at the Canadian launch.
“Parents have been asking us to create a safer version of YouTube for years — here is that safer version.”
The new app is welcomed by content developers like Devon Thagard, co-creator of Super Simple Songs.
“Our channel has had three billion views — it’s huge for us,” said Thagard, whose YouTube channel featuring children’s songs has become an online sensation in less than 10 years.
Natalie Osborne, managing director of 9 Story Media Group, says the new app gives content providers the opportunity to provide “curated content that is appropriate” for children.
The app comes after YouTube says parents have demanded more control over what their children see.
Since YouTube Kids was launched in the U.S. in February, it’s been downloaded 10 million times.
But it’s also received its share of criticism.
Some consumer and parenting groups say the app carries too much commercial content, include advertisements for products like soft drinks.
Google has defended the advertisements.
YouTube Kids is also available in the U.K., Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.