If you’re a parent of a child, you probably know about this “Momo” thing that’s been in the news. If you don’t, then I highly recommend checking out Philip Defranco’s video which goes into detail about what it is, and what’s happening:
Essentially, it’s referring to Momo (that weird face btw is from a Japanese art exhibit), and it’s actually a hoax; a viral shock-story driven by a frightening image and well-intentioned worry about children’s safety online.
There have been videos on YouTube Kids with suicide advice spliced into otherwise innocuous cartoons as a malicious “joke” – they just don’t involve Momo. Parents have spotted them before; it’s even been in the news here in New Zealand.
Regardless if you know about this or not, at it’s core the message is pretty clear to me: make sure you’re aware of what your kids are watching on YouTube.
Even on YouTube Kids.
Because nothing is truly safe on the Internet, on the actual world wide web; and especially on YouTube.
We are a pretty technology heavy house, but we still have restrictions on when the kids can use devices. Only really on the weekends after dinner, or when they’re sick. We let our kids watch YouTube kids but even I know they may stumble across something.
I didn’t grow up with technology, or the internet, so this is a whole new world for myself. It scares me, so it’s my job to make sure I’m aware of all the dangers out there.
I research, and I watch, and I google, and I find out as much as I can so that I can make an informed decision on what my kids have access to.
At this stage, I’m unsure about YouTube / YouTube kids, so I’ve looked into other options for the children. Of course I could ban devices altogether, but that’s not something I want to do.
So in my journey to find alternatives, I thought I’d share with you the apps I found that are good alternatives to YouTube (all are free):
1. Netflix / Lightbox (etc etc)
You can create your own kids profile within the Netflix / Lightbox app, and they only have access to children’s shows or movies. These are all mainstream, and are usually all ok to watch … unless you really hate Peppa Pig, or in my case, Horrid Henry.
HeiHei is actually a New Zealand program dedicated to providing families with a safe space to watch shows and learn at the same time. There’s mainstream shows within it but also a lot of amazing New Zealand content, and this is one app / program that I will be introducing to my children.
PlanetFun is a New Zealand site and was designed to be a safe place for kids to play, learn, and watch online content. A lot of mainstream shows on here!
4. Nickelodeon Play
Obviously from the US, Nickelodeon Play is an app with mainstream tv shows, games and videos.
Obviously there are a lot of other alternatives out there to YouTube / YouTube Kids, but these are the more mainstream ones.
Before you let your child watch anything, always download it first and check it out yourself. Try and stick with mainstream shows, rather than user created content (like YouTube), because there’s less likelihood that it’ll contain nasty content.
Good luck – the internet is a scary world but the more you learn about, the more power you have when it comes to what your kids watch.
If you have any mainstream video streaming apps / program suggestions, let me know below!