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YouTube Kids Free App Launches on Apple’s iTunes, Google Play

YouTube has officially launched a free app designed for kids 5 and younger, in a bid to capture more viewing from the ankle-biting demo — in a safe and secure walled garden.

The free YouTube Kids app includes videos from Jim Henson Co., Mother Goose Club, DreamWorks Animation, National Geographic Kids, Hit Entertainment and others. Videos available in the app shows include “Sesame Street,” “Fraggle Rock,” “Thomas the Tank Engine,” “Reading Rainbow,” “Talking Tom and Friends,” “TuTiTu” and YouTube channel “Super Simple Songs.”

While earlier reports indicated the app would be available only for Android devices, YouTube Kids is also available for Apple’s iPad and iPhone devices. The apps will carry a limited number of prescreened pre-roll video ads, which will exclude any click-throughs to websites or product purchasing offers.

“For years, families have come to YouTube, watching countless hours of videos on a variety of topics,” Google VP of engineering Pavni Diwanji and YouTube Kids group product manager Shimrit Ben-Yair wrote in a blog post Monday. “In the new YouTube Kids app on Android and iOS, videos are narrowed to focus on content that is appropriate for the whole family.”

The YouTube Kids app provides parental controls, including a timer for watch time and the ability to toggle sound and search on or off. Channels and playlists are organized into four categories: Shows, Music, Learning and Explore.

The app is designed to be easy for kids to use, with a “brighter and bigger interface that’s perfect for small thumbs and pudgy fingers,” said Diwanji and Ben-Yair.

In addition to the content launch partners, YouTube said it expects to add kid-appropriate content from popular YouTube creators like the Vlogbrothers and Stampylonghead down the road.

The YouTube Kids app, available initially in the U.S. on the App Store and Google Play, will soon be available on Kurio and nabi kids’ tablets.

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