There is one major barrier that has been keeping YouTube out of homes as a primary form of entertainment. While television pre-screens and programs everything that comes on, and has a guide parents can use to avoid taboo shows, YouTube is the wild west of entertainment. One minute your child could be watching a short clip of Thomas the Tank Engine, the next they could be watching a parody of the show that is wildly inappropriate for children. But now, thanks to HomeTube, YouTube may find itself much more digestible among families.
HomeTube is a new Android app, made independently of YouTube, which uses pre-selected YouTube content that is deemed ‘safe’. Users can customize the content that appears, although to do so requires a one-time in-app purchase. But, for only $0.99 it’s well worth it, and even without the purchase it’s a powerful app.
When watching a video through the app, it locks down any controls to prevent kids from taking unwanted actions from a video. The only thing they can do is watch the video or head back to the category/video select screens.
Keeping Children Protected From The Worst of YouTube
For me personally, this app is a godsend. I have three children 5 and under and YouTube has helped so many times to keep them occupied during a stressful day. But there is always that scary feeling that at any moment they could get to the ‘weird’ part of YouTube with the simplest of searches. This app removes all of that anxiety.
YouTube should really take a cue from the app’s creator Chris Lacy and include something like this in the native YouTube app. Even if they don’t, Chris has created another app “Action Launcher” that allows you to set profiles for tablet users and control their usage. Combined with HomeTube it would create an airtight viewing experience that would ensure children aren’t roaming far from where you want them. Someplace safe.
A feature like this has been long overdue for YouTube. I love that the internet is a free and open place for expression but I also need to know that my children aren’t learning about something they shouldn’t from it. This app puts the power back in parent’s hands and makes YouTube useful and accessible for the entire family.