YouTube Kids App Isn’t As Safe As It Sounds

It turns outs that even when a platform is designed with kids in mind, it isn't always as safe as it seems -- as it was with the YouTube Kids App.

When a website or app releases a new “kid-friendly” version of their platform, it sounds like it should be good news for parents.

With so much content online, managing what kids consume is often a big undertaking for parents. So an app designed exclusively for kids, with guards set up to prevent them from finding inappropriate content sounds like a break for parents.

But it turns out that even when a platform is designed with kids in mind, it isn’t always as safe as it seems — as it was with the YouTube Kids App.

What Is the YouTube Kids App?

Many kids enjoy watching YouTube, which includes a large library of kid-friendly content. But the platform, designed for adults, isn’t an ideal tool for young children.

In February of this year, Google (which owns YouTube) launched YouTube Kids, an app that gives younger kids an opportunity to enjoy their own, age-appropriate version of the video platform.

The new app, compatible for tablets and smartphones, was designed with kids in mind. The dashboard looks like a toy with bigger buttons, easy to navigate menus and intuitive playback options.

As for the content, YouTube claimed to curate age-appropriate videos, channels and playlists.

While YouTube Kids didn’t exactly say there would be only age-appropriate content available on the app, it sounded like it was a totally safe space for children to explore on their own.

But that wasn’t the case.

What Went Wrong?

An article on CNN Money reports that a consumer group has uncovered multiple examples of inappropriate content available on YouTube Kids.

Among the content were cartoons that looked harmless at first glance but were actually discussing playing with matches, tasting battery acid, tying a noose and tasting beer.

The iTunes page for YouTube Kids says that it uses “a mix of input from our users and automated analysis to categorize and screen out the videos that make parents nervous.” But that is in no way a foolproof solution.

Google is aware of the situation and working to resolve the issue; but in the meantime, parents need to be aware of what this means for their children.

Is YouTube Kids Safe For Your Children?

YouTube Kids is a better alternative than standard YouTube, but that doesn’t mean you can leave your child to manage their experience on their own.

Parents should carefully monitor the videos their children discover and report any content that is inappropriate or questionable. They can also use the app’s grown-up-only options to turn off search, limiting the content their children can find.

Related Post: YouTube Parental Controls and What Every Parent Needs to Know 

When it comes to online content, there really is no time when a parent can sit back and expect the platform to monitor the content on its own. Parents always need to remain vigilant of their children’s online media consumption, even when it is advertised as age-appropriate.

In an increasingly complex digital world, parents can use online tools like MamaBear, for Peace of Mind Parenting™ to help monitor their children’s experience with online content. The free app, available for iPhones and Androids, makes it easy for parents to connect with their children’s social media accounts and better monitor their online activity.


Important Information About Facebook Monitoring

facebook monitoringBeginning May 1, 2015, Facebook is making changes to how we and all other partner developers receive information about monitored account activity.  The majority of the Facebook notifications you receive from MamaBear about your child’s Facebook activity will remain the same, with the exception of being aware of new friend connections.

This will affect any Facebook account that you are monitoring through your MamaBear account.

While we regret losing this one part of our Facebook monitoring features, we continue to work with Facebook to add a host of new activity features that will make your MamaBear experience even better.  New Facebook monitoring features through MamaBear are the horizon with a robust look into your child’s activity.

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO DO: Log In to Facebook in your MamaBear app on or after May 1 as you did originally. There is no need to log out of MamaBear, simply reconnect to your child’s Facebook account within your MamaBear App settings with your child’s user name and password.


MamaBear recently added Tumblr  as a social service to monitor in our social suite with Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.  Tumblr has 420 million users and is a very popular blog site among teens. Connect to your child’s Tumblr account through MamaBear and you will be notified about blogs your child likes including blog titles, description and URL.  You’ll also receive details about which blog authors they follow with the name, URL, date they liked it, date it was posted and a picture, if there is one. Ask your child if they have a Tumblr account and begin monitoring today. 

Flu Season Is Here. Are You Prepared?

Catching the flu is a real pain. First there is the physical pain or even worse watching your child go through it. Learn how to protect your health and your wallet.

by Robyn Spoto


Catching the flu is a real pain. First there is the physical pain that comes with the fever, headache, body chills, and nausea — which is even worse when you are watching your child go through it.

Then there is the financial pain that comes with paying for expensive treatment, doctor’s appointments, and prescriptions. Depending on the type of health insurance you have, paying out-of-pocket expenses for treating the flu can quickly add up.

My son recently had the flu and his doctor prescribed him Tamiflu to treat it. The cost — $250. That cost was doubled when the doctor also prescribed a preventive prescription for my other son. It was an $800 day after appointments and medicine.  I was prepared with contributions to my health savings account as I haven’t yet met my insurance plan’s deductible for a co-pay. However, my heart broke thinking about the families that aren’t covered with health insurance to cover the expense.

Protect Your Health: Get Flu Shots for Your Family

Stop the flu before it happens by taking each member of your family to get a preventative flu shot. The flu vaccine causes antibodies to develop in the body which provides protection against the infection. So when you get a flu shot, you substantially decrease the likelihood that you will catch the flu.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that any person over the age of six months get a flu vaccine every season. The associated risks with flu shots are small, and despite what many think, you cannot get a case of the flu from a flu shot.

Many pharmacies and doctor’s offices offer inexpensive, easy-to-administer flu shots that are readily available. It’s a quick and effective way to protect your family from the physical pains of flu season.

Protect Your Wallet: Enroll in a Financially Responsible Insurance Plan

Plan for health care costs before they happen by enrolling your family a financially responsible health insurance plan that will not drain your wallet in the event that one of your family members gets sick.

Compare plans that make sense for your family.

With a co-pay plan, you only pay for a portion of the cost of treatment but a higher monthly fee. So a prescription that costs $250 could cost you $100, $30, or with some plans, even no cost at all.

With a plan that requires you meet a deductible, you pay the full cost of treatment (until you reach your out-of-pocket limit). A plan with with a high deductible may be cheaper per month than a plan with a low co-pay, but remember to factor in the extra expenses you may incur during the year given your family’s health needs.

Be aware of co-pay and deductible rates when shopping for a new health care plan for 2015, and educate yourself on the available plans by using marketplaces and exchanges to compare rates. is not the only available health insurance marketplace.

We’ve partnered with  ACA Insurance Services, to offer a variety of affordable family plans that can increase the health of your family and your wallet. Open enrollment for 2015 plans has begun.  Educate yourself and save money.

Getting Started With MamaBear App

Thanks for using the MamaBear App.  We’ve put together a step-by-step guide to help you get started. Get in touch with us at with any questions.

mamabear-family-safety-app1. ADD YOUR FAMILY.

Add your children and any other guardians to your account in the settings area.

Your added family members can install MamaBear from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store and we’ll also send them a text message invitation asking to join your family.


Once your added family members have installed MamaBear, they’ll simply need to log in using their phone number and the family password you created.

Share your password and give your kids a hand if they need help installing MamaBear on their phone.

You can resend the login link when you see that your child has not logged in for the first time or if their map location is old. Go to your child’s profile settings page and tap “resend login link.”


Your child’s smartphone needs data connectivity with these appropriate device settings:

– Location services “on”
– Background refresh “on” (for iPhones)
– Make sure wifi is “on.”  Even if not connected, having wifi on helps the device’s location services.
– The device also needs to be powered on to share updated location information.

Related: How to prevent your child from deleting apps

mamabear-app-monitor-social-media4. GET YOUR CHILD’S SOCIAL USERNAME AND PASSWORDS.

Connect your child’s Grom App, Instagram, Twitter,  and/or Facebook accounts in the settings area of MamaBear.

Once you are connected:
– Customize a word list to monitor on all connected social accounts by tapping “restricted words.” Check out these acronyms you may want to add to the list.
– Notifications for new Twitter followers.
– Notifications for Instagram photos posted.
– Select what notifications you would like to see of your child’s activity on the Grom app.


Add places like home or school in the settings area of each child to receive notifications when they arrive or leave. Adjust the size of the boundary to fit the location in the safe place settings to prevent “bouncing” or inaccurate departures.


The default setting for driving speed notifications is 55 MPH.  You’ll receive notifications if your child rides or drives over that limit once per hour.


Earn a free premium subscription when you share MamaBear with your friends using the Bear2Bear referral program. Tap the top left menu and tap “share” to choose among text, email or social apps to share your custom referral link.  As soon as your friends register, they receive a free premium subscription period and so do you! Learn more about Bear2Bear.


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