YouTube overhauls kids’ app after complaints

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YouTube launched the toddler-oriented app in 2015, describing it as a “safer” experience than the regular YouTube video-sharing service. But it’s been criticized by child advocates for its commercialism and for the failures of its automated screening. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok, File)

YouTube is overhauling its kid-focused video app to give parents the option of letting humans, not computer algorithms, select what shows their children can watch.

The updates that begin rolling out Thursday are a response to complaints that the YouTube Kids app has repeatedly failed to filter out disturbing content.

Google-owned YouTube launched the toddler-oriented app in 2015, describing it as a “safer” experience than the regular YouTube video-sharing service.

But it’s been criticized by child advocates for its commercialism and for the failures of its automated screening. It’s engineered to exclude inappropriate content and recommend videos based on what children have watched before.

That automated system remains the default, but the updates allow parents to switch it off and choose a contained selection of programs such as Sesame Street.

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