Jefferson Graham shows the second installment of Snapchat Spectacles Video Sunglasses with a Venice Beach Barista.
Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY
Amazon, YouTube and Facebook had a message for parents this week. We hear your complaints. And we will address (some of them).
Kids want to watch YouTube for hours, but many parents feel conflicted with non-kid-friendly videos that appear in their feeds.
You also have a problem with the Amazon echo speaker and Alexa's personal assistant. Young people often revolve around poop jokes or listen to music with racy lyrics. Not cool either.
And which youngster does not want to join a social network, which often has a minimum age of 13?
A look at the redesigned YouTube Kids app. (Photo: YouTube)
This week, Amazon released a kid-friendly version of the Dot speaker for beginners, while YouTube made changes to the stand-alone YouTube Kids app introduced to make the parents less frightening. And Facebook has said it tweaks some of its controls in the Messenger for Kids app so parents can set timers for their use.
Let's start with YouTube and the Conflict that calls for use of calls for eyes younger than 13. Try to say that to the millions of teenagers who watch YouTube anyway, while their parents try to play "whack-a-mole" to keep their children away from adult, exploitative, violent and scary content.
And keep in mind that the second most popular channel on YouTube is Ryan Toy Review, hosted by a 6-year-old child reveling in the latest toys.
The answer for YouTube was a self-contained app for smartphones and tablets launched in 2015 that provides parents with a safe place for children. That was all well and good, until non-kid-friendly videos began to fall through the cracks.
The problem with the app was that it was based on the same computer algorithm of the main application and computers are not so good at curating content.
So, YouTube has finally done the right thing this week, offering new tools in an update to turn the free app into a curated experience with content from Sesame Street, Kidzbop, PBS Kids, and others the ability for children to contribute other content.
That's the good news. The bad thing is that the app, though YouTube says, is aimed at 2-5 year olds. There is no way a child under the age of 8 in a walled garden will be satisfied with handpicked videos. YouTube needs to dramatically upgrade content and bring content older children would actually see.
But it's a great patch for an embarrassing problem.
For Amazon, a kid-friendly dot is just another feature to sell another product, which costs $ 30 more than the adult version.
The Echo Dot Kids Edition is billed as a DJ, comedian and storyteller by Amazon. one who can play (family friendly) music, read stories and tell jokes. Much of it comes in the form of a new free subscription service called FreeTime, which also provides access to 300 children's audiobooks.
The new sleep mode on Facebook Messenger for kids sets limits on usage and even receive notifications
The steps are a good step in the right direction of tech companies that either mess up (in the case of the early YouTube Kids app) self-serving (as critics see Facebook's Messenger for kids, how easy another way of getting young people involved in the social network early on) or indifferent (where is Apple with young children?)
Daniel Ek is a Swedish entrepreneur and a technologist who is the music streaming service Spotify. [Via MerlinFTP Drop] (Photo: Jefferson Graham, USAT)
In other technical news this week
Self-destructive Gmail: In the first major update to the Gmail email program since 2011, Google Some new features have been introduced including a feature that allows you to add a time element to the lifetime of an email and request two-factor authentication before the recipient can read it.
Spotify adds more free music. To keep Apple's rival music away and sell more of its own subscriptions, Spotify has upgraded the free content so everyone can access 15 select on-demand playlists, with the ability to select and play songs from these playlists in any order , what you could not do under the previous free plan. And if you do not like the selection? Subscribe $ 10 Monthly
Amazon did a lot this week. First, the e-tailer said he would now start offering master shipments, with many reservations. It will come to your vehicle if you are not parked in a structure and have a new GM or Volvo car. It's the latest update to the key service that allows Amazon employees to drop packages at home. Then it quietly took an additional $ 20 a year to use the Prime Express shipping and entertainment service, making the total $ 119 a year. No, you can not bring packages to your suitcase unless you are a Prime member.
Christopher "Nice" Abel wears a new pair of Snapchat goggles glasses, version 2, in front of the Menotti's Coffee Shop, whose co-owner he is in Venice Beach , California (Photo: Jefferson Graham)
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Bash Alexiades and Grace Lauson pose for dummy ball photos in Manhattan Beach (Photo: Jefferson Graham)
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