It was Dan TDM’s birthday last week.
Did you celebrate? Surely you did. My two sons – aged 6 and 8 – made large cardboard cards and tweeted them at him “Happy Birthday Dan TDM” they scrawled and drew brightly coloured creepers and zombies.
They were giddy with excitement - after all Dan TDM is one of their heroes.
Haven’t you heard of him?
Really, you must not have a primary school aged boy.
Perhaps you’ve heard of Stampy or Amy Lee? IBallistic Squid, Smosh or Zoe Sugg?
If you haven’t very soon your kids will as these are some of the biggest names on YouTube and the superstars our children are following.
Some of them, like Stampy have subscribers of over six million and are worth in the millions themselves.
The world of YouTube is hard to escape – from unwrapping Kinder surprises – (some of those videos alone have over six million views) to watching adults opening chocolates (yep that’s popular too) to Barbie re-creations.
But while our children love YouTube it can be a fairly deep rabbit hole. Once you are in it you never know where you will land and for me this gives rise to the fear of what they will come across.
This is one of the most popular YouTube channels for kids. Yes. Prepare to be surprised by what they are watching...Post continues after video.
So it’s an interesting app that has just been launched in Australia - YouTube Kids.
The app focuses on family friendly content like ABC KIDS and filters out the majority of that stuff you don’t want you children to view.
Though the creators admit it’s not perfect and urge users to flag any clips that they deem inappropriate that might slip through their filters.
Since its launch in the US earlier this year it’s been downloaded more than 10 million times and has been rated among the top apps available for kids.
There are categories - Shows, Music, Learning, and Explore, or you can search for videos of particular interest to your family. There is even a built in voice search so that even if your child can’t spell or type, they can still find videos of things they’re curious about.
It’s got a parental timer that it hopes your kids can’t unlock and different search and sound options. It still offers those annoying ads albeit they claim all advertisements that appear on the kids platform go through an extensive review process to ensure they too are age-appropriate.
While experts still warn it is important to monitor your children’s online activity Child safety advocates like Hetty Johnson from Bravehearts applaud the development of this app.
"Finally a contemporary, relevant and popular platform re-imagined to respond to the specific needs of children in the online environment” she said.
”Children need to be able to explore, learn and enjoy the rich and amazing learning experiences available to them online without the fear of being exposed to inappropriate content. “
While many parents would prefer that YouTube was not such an appealing element of entertainment for our children its dominance in our children’s media consumption is only growing.
While there is a whole slather of stuff that we’d just rather our kids didn’t see there is content on there that might be of benefit for kids - it’s not all cat videos and My Little Pony scenes being re-enacted by figurines.
Though they are really, really quite something to be seen.. Post continues after video...
And for many of us, in our busy lives, YouTube has become a sweet saviour of vital necessity when outbursts are to be avoided or quiet time is desperately needed.
So as much as I hate it I kinda love it too.
Let us know have you tried YouTube Kids? What did you think of it?