With all the not-so-great news coming out around YouTube recently — from their pedophilia problem to the horrific content spliced into kids’ videos to the infamous Momo challenge — I’ve been looking for some YouTube alternatives. From now on, at our house, YouTube (and even YouTube Kids) is family viewing only. My kids aren’t going there alone.
But, I also can’t monitor every second of their online time, especially since it’s partially something I allow them to do to keep busy while I’m doing my own work. So, if you’re like me and you want some safe alternatives to YouTube for kids that don’t require countless hours of effort on your part, then look no further.
We have some options that we think are actually awesome.
kiddZtube, for preschool kids
For preschool aged-kids, the kiddZtube app is a safe destination, where all video content is hand-selected from YouTube by a team of educators and posted to their archive with fun interactive quizzes added. The focus is education, of course, with kids learning their letters, colors, and more. But there is plenty of fun too, with 100 channels and 50+ videos added each week.
They also have a parent portal where you can monitor your child’s usage and progress with the quizzes. We also love the Bedtime Mode feature, where the stories vault filters into only their bedtime stories and the quizzes are removed for a more relaxing experience. (Although, keep in mind, the blue light from the screen is still stimulating).
Kidoodle, for elementary-aged kids
For elementary aged kids, a YouTube alternative we’ve recommended before is Kidoodle, which is designed for kids up to age 12. It’s a subscription based service, which has more than 2500 ad-free shows with characters ranging from Strawberry Shortcake to Super Mario to GI Joe (with plenty of generic, unknown characters thrown in too). Kidoodle curates playlists for you based on your child’s age, and you have the option to remove anything you don’t want your child accessing from their list as well as limit the amount of time you let them watch in the first place.
Jellies app, for preschoolers and elementary-aged kids
If your kids love fun YouTube Kids content, but you want to skip the toy unboxing videos and the ads, you’ll definitely want to check out the Jellies app, which has over 5,200 handpicked videos for preschoolers through elementary-aged kids. And they really mean handpicked, by the way, because actual humans watch every single approved video. With Parents Mode, you decide what your kids watch, as well as the ability to set a timer, which as we know, is pretty helpful when videos just keep scrolling with seemingly no end. And with no login required, you can feel safe knowing your info is yours. (Free 30-day trial, then $4.99/month; please note that Jellies is a recent Cool Mom Picks sponsor, which was entirely unrelated to this post.)
Related: The Ultimate Guide to Digital Parenting, answering your tough tech-related questions
batteryPOP, for tweens+
The app batteryPOP has been around quite a while. In fact, we’ve been recommending it since 2013 as a safe destination for tweens with all original content, and most videos are under 5 minutes long. It’d definitely more like watching quick (and addicting) YouTube videos than some of these other sites that feel more like Hulu for kids. As your kids watch, they can customize the videos they prefer, making it more enjoyable for them the more time they spend on it.