Several months ago, rumours started to fly that YouTube was planning a dedicated version of its video site designed for kids. That has now been confirmed with YouTube Kids launching on Monday 23 February.

The free app will be initially available for Android and in the US only, but will no doubt spread to other regions and platforms in time.

It aggregates kid-friendly videos in one place and takes out elements that might cause offence. Comments, for example, will be removed in YouTube Kids and there will be a parent-controlled timer function that shuts down the app after a child has used it for a set amount of time.

The layout of the application is also simplified for use by younger children too. It relies heavily on pictorial thumbnails rather than text, which have been made much larger than those on the conventional YouTube app. And kids' shows will be grouped in channels to offer a Netflix style way to getting to grouped pieces of content quickly.

There is search functionality but inappropriate words have been filtered so the child cannot find clips that are unsuitable. As USA Today states, if a kid types the word "sex" they will received the message "try something else".

"Parents were constantly asking us, can you make YouTube a better place for our kids," said Shimrit Ben-Yair, the project's group product manager, to the news site. "(Year over year) we've seen 50 per cent growth in viewing time on YouTube, but for our family entertainment channels, it's more like 200 per cent."

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