YouTube Kids app getting more parental control features. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

YouTube has announced that it is bringing in more parental controls to its YouTube Kids app. Parents will be able to restrict YouTube Kids to only show curated collections, while the search off feature is getting an upgrade.

“When we launched the YouTube Kids app three years ago, our goal was to give kids around the world a place to access videos that were enriching, engaging and allowed them to explore their endless interests,” the company said on its blog.

“Since then, our team has continued to work to improve the app experience for kids and families around the world. One area of focus has been building new features that give parents even more control around the content available in the YouTube Kids app so they can make the right choice for their unique family and for each child within their family.”

The company is releasing three new parental control features throughout the year, with two of them already rolling out this week.

The first feature refers to collections by trusted partners. YouTube says that starting this week, YouTube’s partners and the YouTube Kids team will be able to offer collections of trusted channels on the app. Parents will be able to select channel collections from the Profile Settings. Collections include Sesame Workshop and PBS KIDS. YouTube says that it will continue to add more partners over time.

The second feature that was announced by the company is parent approved content. This provides parents more control over what videos their children will be able to watch in the YouTube Kids app. Parents will be able to handpick every video and channel available to their child in the app. YouTube didn’t say when exactly this feature will be available, but it should arrive sometime later this year.

The third and final new parental control feature is an improved version of its search-off control. “Parents have always been able to turn search off within the YouTube Kids app, but starting this week turning search off will limit the YouTube Kids experience to channels that have been verified by the YouTube Kids team. This means that search off will not include recommendations from the broader YouTube Kids corpus,” the company said.

YouTube also reminded parents that if they still want the wider selection of content, it will still be available in the YouTube Kids app. Parents are also encouraged to continue flagging and blocking videos that they deem to be inappropriate for kids to help YouTube improve its system.

The announcement of the new features comes just weeks after YouTube Kids started to only display Google-approved content. The YouTube Kids app has been heavily criticized for showing content that's not approrpiate for children. YouTube has admitted its faults and shortcomings, and it has vowed to continue to improve its kid-friendly app.