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grobl
Level 7

YouTube Kids

Every other mainstream streaming device now has YouTube Kids.  Why is it not yet on Roku? 
12 Replies
trekkeriii
Level 10

Re: YouTube Kids

Ask Google. They are responsible for development of the channel
http://trekkeriii.com/Roku_PHP_list.php
Router - ASUS RT-AC68U
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ShapeUp
Level 7

Re: YouTube Kids

With Roku being one of the most sold streaming boxes and even on tv''s themselves, on the market today, I would think Roku has something to do with not having an app for YouTube Kids at this point. I believe they have enough clout to get Google Play Store to get an app for them as they have for android tv.
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Basil
Level 10

Re: YouTube Kids

Roku doesn't run on Android. 

Google owns Android. Android TV is a competitor of Roku that runs on Google's operating system. And YouTube is owned by Google.

So, no, none of what you said.
Basil
https://www.basilsblog.com/
Roku Ultra (4660)
Apple TV (5th gen), TiVo

Previous:
Roku boxes from every generation.
Apple TV (2nd, 3rd, 4th gen)
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AndyCalling
Level 7

Re: YouTube Kids

"ShapeUp" wrote:
With Roku being one of the most sold streaming boxes and even on tv''s themselves, on the market today, I would think Roku has something to do with not having an app for YouTube Kids at this point. I believe they have enough clout to get Google Play Store to get an app for them as they have for android tv.

Even Microsoft and Amazon can't get Google to co-operate, so Roku is not going to even be able to get Google to pick up the phone let alone help. I use no Google sevices because they are so awful to deal with, except Youtube (and an old Gmail account for the sole purpose of logging in to Youtube) as really there's no comparable alternative. Even at that level of involvement Google is a bind.
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Macleon85
Level 7

Re: YouTube Kids

I have Sharp Roku TVs in my kids rooms because they are a great buy and I can control there content and control them from my phone. I can’t be the only one, However my kids love kids YouTube, my wife and I love it because we feel peace of mind that they will only have kids content. This is very disappointing that Roku does not have this app. My kids watch this as they fall asleep I would rather have them watch it on tv then an iPod or iPad. I don’t care who’s job it is to make the apps weather it’s roku or google both company’s want that content in front of kids it’s safe yes there is a a lot of advertisements but it’s what we used to see as kids ads for toys I at 33 years old I love seeing toy ads roku and google need to get there stuff together personally I’m disappointed in both company’s they could charge a monthly fee for the content they have my business I hope these company’s make it right soon I’m not impressed with the LG TVs as far as controlling the tv functions and content from my phone however I have LG TVs in our great room and my bedroom
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TeeCee
Level 7

Re: YouTube Kids

Yes i do agree that roku should have youtube kids on it even lg smart tv has it get it together roku
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fluke
Level 10

Re: YouTube Kids

YouTube's Terms of Service does not allow any other developer to create a YouTube based channel for Roku other than YouTube themselves.

There have been third-party YouTube clients for the Roku in the past and Google/YouTube has demanded that the third-party channel be removed.

Also, the concept of YouTube Kids is not part of the YouTube API.  There an API search option to restrict it to "safesearch" mode but that is not really the same.  YouTube has no intention of helping third-parties create alternative YouTube Kids applications.

If you are willing to live with the limitation just having a "safe-search," you should be able to do that in the existing YouTube channel for Roku by going to Settings (the gear in the lower-left) and then choosing Restricted Mode.

That all having been said, I find the following statement really alarming:
"However my kids love kids YouTube, my wife and I love it because we feel peace of mind that they will only have kids content."

That is not my understanding of what YouTube Kids actually is.  Several of the videos seem to be added to the Kids app using an automated system.  If a cartoon looking video includes instructions on how to commit suicide in the middle then YouTube Kids will be "quick" to act on it being reported for abuse.  However, a reactionary system is not the same as having *only* kids content.

For more information, read carefully what YouTube Kids has to say themselves about the level of safety at:
https://www.youtube.com/kids/safer-experience/

Notice that they themselves indicate the following:
"But not all videos have been manually reviewed. If you find something inappropriate that we missed, you can flag it for fast review. This makes the app better for everyone."

WHAT?!  *IF*?  How inappropriate can something be and still get missed?!

The YouTube Kids reactionary after the fact method is not nearly the same as something like HBO Go or HBO Now's Kids section of manually curated content.

Roku's Kids & Family section of the Roku streaming channel store also have other apps that I feel are better curated content that YouTube Kids automated filter such as PBS Kids.  There is no *IF* you find something then flag it that is part of the PBS Kids system of doing things.

If having delicate minds view videos on a iPad using YouTube Kids were the video was selected through a flawed automated filter has worked well for you so far, I'm happy for you.  I personally don't play Russian roulette regardless of if the gun has 6 chambers or 100 chambers.  YouTube Kids doesn't promise the accuracy of their filter is completely 100%.  They just claim they work to keep the amount of content that sneaks through to be a low percentage.  To me, that low percentage is still a bullet in a gun with a lot of chambers.  I would personally get as much peace of mind from YouTube Kids as I would get from watching The Deer Hunter (a movie I also would not recommend for kids).
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Yogi76
Level 7

Re: YouTube Kids

@fluke [Content edited per Roku Forum Guidelines] YouTube Kids does a pretty good job at filtering content and it also provides other parental control features that the regular YouTube app doesn't. For instance, it allows "children" Google Accounts that were created in Google Family Link to login. The "children" accounts can be monitored by the adults in the family to see what the children have been watching. The "regular" YouTube app doesn't let these "children" Google Accounts login. The YouTube Kids app also has an option to set a time limit. Yes, the YouTube Kids content filter isn't perfect, but you are letting perfect be the enemy of the good. You know what else isn't perfect... seat belts. But I don't make my kids never ride in a car, I make them where their seat belts.

Back to the topic, getting YouTube Kids on Roku. I know that Google has used its near monopoly of user created video in the form of YouTube to starve competing platforms to Android of content (i.e. their refusal to create or even allow Microsoft to create a YouTube app for Windows Phone). Some would even say their anti-competitive tactics even rise to the level of an antitrust lawsuit. However, be that as it may, it was announced back in July (https://www.blog.google/products/chrome ... e-fire-tv/) that Amazon and Google have worked together to allow Amazon Prime Video on Android TV devices and YouTube, YouTube TV, and YouTube Kids on Amazon Fire devices (with YouTube available immediately and YouTube TV and YouTube Kids "later this year").

I know that Roku doesn't have near the clout or bargaining chips that Amazon does. However, as a consumer that simply wants the apps and content that my children want in the format that I need to allow better parental control, it's hard for me to stay with Roku when other platforms have those content and apps. I'm hoping that Roku can convince Google to release a YouTube Kids app and at least announce as such by the time the YouTube Kids app is released for Fire devices. If not, I'll be forced to re-evaluate the streaming platform that my family uses. I'd be looking at moving to Fire devices or even maybe Android TV using something like the Mi Box S.
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fluke
Level 10

Re: YouTube Kids

"Yogi76" wrote:
Yes, the YouTube Kids content filter isn't perfect, but you are letting perfect be the enemy of the good. You know what else isn't perfect... seat belts.

Seat belts are the result of a collaborative effort to make things better.  I can check with the NHTSA on what their findings are about the success and failure rates of seat belts.  I can read NHTSA reports about what went wrong when seat belts fail.  There is transparency and multiple vendors involved in the process.

Google has a similar concept.  They are the owners of a website called VirusTotal which is a collaborative effort across some 50+ different third-parties.  You can upload to the site a known malware file and see that not every automated filter catches everything.  However, across 50+ third-parties a great deal gets caught that would slip through the cracks of just any one single virus scanner.

YouTube Kids is a huge regression from the collaborative efforts of seat belts and VirusTotal.  There is no government agency tracking the success or failure rates.  There is also no government agency writing detail reports about what took place when the filter fails.  Google does not even publicly release statics on the failure rate of their automated filter.  So, unlike VirusTotal, you are being asked to entrust a filter from only one single vendor despite proof that automated heuristic filters from a single vendor do not work as well as a multi-vendor solution.  There has been no attempt by Google to provide an API that encourages other third-party filters to get involved in analysis of YouTube Kids.  The system for reporting videos as a third party is strictly manual.


"Yogi76" wrote:
Amazon and Google have worked together to allow YouTube Kids on Amazon Fire devices

Fire OS version 6 is mostly just Android version 7.  YouTube Kids for Android TV makes use of some Google Play Services API that don't exist in Fire OS, but that part of the YouTube Kids application can easily be removed.  There is not much effort involved in supporting Fire, Google's fight with Amazon was more about policies to get corporate leverage over the other than anything technical.  Coding YouTube Kids to Roku Brightscript shouldn't be difficult but is still going to be more involved that just taking the existing Android code and stripping out function calls to Play.  I really do hope Roku is able to convince Google that they should be supplying more of their services to Roku.  However, I don't have much faith in Google doing so.

As to the Xiaomi Mi Box S, I would try talking to someone that owns a Xiaomi product first.  My co-worker has one of their phones and the quality just is not that great even against other similarly priced phones.  The battery seems to be warping and damaging a spot on the screen.  Tom's hardware guide Mi Box S review summary is: "There's no compelling reason to get a Xiaomi Mi Box S, due to troublesome issues with its picture quality, sound levels and interface."  If this is just to get YT Kids then the issues in the review might not be a show stopper for you.  If you are looking to use it for more than that, then the Nvidia Shield TV has continued to get the best reviews of any Android TV device (while also being able to retain it's $200 price tag as a result).  Roku and Nvidia have also been providing a much longer update life cycle for their devices.  It isn't clear when Android 9 will ever be available for the Mi Box S while it is already available for the Nvidia Shield.

I also still strongly recommend looking at the large number of Roku channels already available with carefully curated kids content were everything on the channel intended for children was selected manually by a human.  While it is fair to ask that YouTube Kids be added, it may be a while before that request can be acted on.  There is plenty already on Roku which is truly safe for children instead of merely Google sometimes recommends suicide to children level safe.[1][2][3]  There is a 0.0% chance PBS KIds has instructions on how to die.  [/font]


[1] https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/02/youtube-kids-cartoons-include-tips-for-committing-suicide-do...
[3] https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/02/24/pediatrician-exposes-suicide-tips-children-hidd...
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