YouTube announced the launch of YouTube Kids in Arabic, which will cover 15 countries across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
The announcement came during a briefing round table presented by Tarek Abdalla, Regional Marketing Director at Google in the MENA region.
The roundtable introduced all details and features that can be found on YouTube Kids, alongside more information on the various controls that will help parents customise their family’s viewing experience.
The application is a family-friendly free service for kids, featuring a range of parental controls and some of the region’s most loved content.
YouTube Kids will make it easier for families to find videos appropriate to their children which they can enjoy, while offering parents easy to use tools to customise their family’s experience.
Commenting on the launch of YouTube Kids in MENA, Abdalla said, “YouTube Kids helps every family nurture their children’s curiosity and interests, while offering a range of parental controls to tailor the experience based on their needs.”
“Whether your children are 12 year olds who enjoy arts and crafts or seven year olds who want to understand more about the solar system, YouTube Kids is a family friendly space for watching and exploring,” he added, “In the case where parents find a video that concerns them, they can easily report it, and help us to constantly improve the platform.”
The application was first established in 2015, and is available in 86 countries in 38 different languages. It is one of the most important applications for children, and is popular in the US, the UK, Austria, Spain, Italy and France. There is a huge turnout for the application in these countries, and it is hoped that it will be equally as popular in Arab countries.
The new application is a totally different experience from its 2015 predecessor, which boasted less features and options. At the time of its first launch, families were also not using the internet as they are now.
Over time, the app has developed, Abdalla explained, adding that Google waited for an appropriate time to introduce a product with good features and service.
Abdalla told Daily News Egypt that the e-mail feature, notifying parents on their child’s activity on the app, is not available. However, parents can adjust the timing for children to use the application and choose the content they can use during this period of time.
He also said that the application does not offer educational content to parents as there are already other applications helping parents in assisting their children in learning from home through the internet.
Abdalla said the platform will allow families to manage their children’s profiles and determine websites, videos or anything they want them to watch, whilst giving families access to a Google Security page that allows family access and security.
This page includes many details to learn about the different features the app offers, to help their children use the application.
The app offers a range of easy to use parental controls so that every family can have the experience that is right for them. Some of the helpful features are offering individualised profiles which allows parents to create separate profiles for their children. This means that children of different ages and interests will have a separate set of viewing preferences and recommendations.
It also has hand-picked content which ‘Parent can through it approve content’ mode allows parents to select individual videos and channels to make available for their child. There is also a Turn off search option which will make the child can’t search for videos, and is limited to videos from a set of channels.
The application also has a built-in timer in which parents can easily limit the viewing time for their children. The application will notify the child once their session is over, and they can also block Channels or Content with the click of a button.
Speaking about the idea of YouTube Kids, he said that a total of 30% under-14s in the Arab world access the app, and that nine of every ten of those children has a tablet or smartphone.
“YouTube Kids is one of our latest experiences on the internet, YouTube in general is a very important product which is very accessible in the region,” he added.
Abdalla said that families can create separate IDs on the same account for each child, with the IDs not requiring any personal information or even photos.
These will be password protected, so that no one can access the file, with each file adjustable according to the child’s age. YouTube Kids also offers certain content for each age, which are suitable for that child.
During the roundtable, a video was played showing all features of YouTube Kids. The application was created for children under 13 and with families in mind, and serves as a standalone app that hosts a range of content to help families support their children’s exploration and curiosity.
Children can learn about new topics and stay entertained through channels and playlists organised into categories, including: Learning & Hobbies; Arts & Crafts; YouTubers & Family Vloggers; Music & Dance; and Toys & Play.
Some of the region’s most loved family content will be available on the app, such as the Arabic version of Sesame Street, or the UAE production Mansour, educational videos such as “El Schoola” and “Learn with Zakariya”, and nursery rhymes.
Content from any kids channel will be available on the application, alongside educational and musical content. All those will be offered in the Arabic language, along with additional international content provided for children which will be translated into Arabic, Abdalla said.
He said that, since the application is free service to all users, ads have to be included, to ensure that it continues as a free service. Ads will start to appear gradually, although they will be different from those found on the original YouTube application, meaning that food and applications ads will not be allowed.
He added that advertising that will make children pressure their parents to buy certain products for them will also not be allowed.
Abdalla also said that those who have YouTube premium can use an ad-free YouTube Kids, but that there is no plan for creating any paid services in YouTube Kids.
Abdalla is Regional Director of Marketing at Google responsible for leading the Middle East and North Africa in addition to serving as deputy to the Senior Director of Marketing for Emerging Markets.
Since joining Google in 2012, he has led the launch of YouTube, Google Street View, Google Maps, Google Arts & Culture and Google Partners, working with content creators, publishers, governments and large and small businesses across industries in the Arab world. He also led the design and launch of Maharat min Google, a program with the goal of empowering women and youth with digital skills needed to succeed in the workforce; over 100,000 people in the Middle East have found jobs or grown in their careers as a result of completing their Maharat min Google training.