Back when Amazon and Google announced that an official YouTube app would finally come to Fire TV devices, they also said a YouTube Kids app would arrive as well. That day has come because a YouTube Kids app has just arrived for Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Edition devices. The app appears to be compatible with all Fire TV models, all the way back to the first 2014 Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. Google says YouTube Kids is “a safer online experience for kids.” The app limits access to YouTUbe videos to those that “a mix of automated filters built by our engineering teams, human review, and feedback from parents” have deemed to be family-friendly.
There are numerous kid-oriented YouTube apps in the Fire TV appstore that aren’t made by Google, so be careful to install the official app and not one of the others. The official app uses an icon with the words “YouTube Kids” on a white background. There seems to be a bug preventing the app listing from loading right now, so you may need to use the Amazon.com page and select to have the app sent to your device from there, like I had to do.
The app supports profiles for each child, which need to be created using the mobile phone app, or you can select to use the app signed out. Even if used signed out, you can still select one of 3 age ranges to tailer the content, from 4 and under, 5-7, and 8-12. You can also select whether you want to turn search off or leave it accessible. If you choose to create a profile, you can configure the app to only show videos that you’ve manually allowed.
By default, the app separates videos into 4 categories: Shows, Music, Learning, and Explore. As you’d expect, the interface is much simpler than the regular YouTube app. Many of the traditional YouTube elements, like thumbs up/down buttons, aren’t present in the YouTube Kids app.
Before you can access the settings area, the app spells out 4 numbers and asks you to enter them using an on-screen number pad. Once in the settings, you can login/logout, change the content age range, create a custom passcode for the app, and enable/disable search. From settings, you can also pause the app’s history, which will prevent it from using your child’s watch history to recommend videos. You can also clear the existing watch history manually.