Alphabet-owned YouTube rolled out the Arabic version of its YouTube Kids app across the Middle East and North Africa region on Monday as the video-sharing platform seeks to increase locally relevant content.
The app will be available in 15 countries, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and targets children under 13 years.
The YouTube Kids app will keep “families across Mena in mind” and consider “language and culture” to produce more locally relevant experience, Google said in a statement.
“A key part of this is for families to be able to interact with our products in their native language.”
Rolled out in the US in February 2015, YouTube Kids is now available in 90 countries in 38 languages, including Arabic, English, Spanish, Russian, French, German, Korean, Japanese, Polish, Vietnamese, Serbian, Macedonian and Hungarian, among others.
YouTube Kids has registered “tens of millions of downloads” with over 35 million active weekly users since its global launch. It currently hosts millions of family friendly videos that vary in duration, Google said, without disclosing the exact number.
“Whether your children are 12 years old who enjoy arts and crafts or seven years old who want to understand more about the solar system, YouTube Kids is a family friendly space for watching and exploring,” Tarek Abdalla, Google’s regional marketing director for the Mena region, said.
“It helps every family nurture their children’s curiosity and interests … offering a range of parental controls to tailor the experience based on their needs.”
The kids version of YouTube will also limit advertisements, the company said.
“We have ads that comply with our strict policies and human review guidelines … we will allow limited paid advertisements that are verified as family friendly. All advertisements will be clearly labelled as ads and will not include any click through to websites or product purchases,” the company said.
Parents who want an ad-free experience can subscribe to YouTube Premium, a paid membership.
YouTube Kids can also be customised to suit different age groups. Parents can create up to eight profiles depending on viewing preferences and recommendations for their children.
They can also block specific channels or content and can restrict their children’s experience to a more limited set of videos by disabling the search function.
Content available on YouTube Kids will include the Arabic version of Sesame Street, Ahlan Simsim, or Emirati production Mansour, educational videos such as El Schoola and Learn with Zakariya or nursery rhymes.
Children can learn about new topics and be entertained through channels and playlists organised into categories including learning and hobbies, arts and crafts, YouTubers and family vloggers, music and dance and toys and play.
Google said “YouTube Kids only collects data that is needed to support the operation of the service, for example, age, if a parent chooses to select content based on age range.”