If you like the idea of browsing YouTube for kids’ content, but you don’t like the idea of your hair turning white all at one go, try the recently launched ZuiTube, which boasts almost 60,000 parent- and teacher-approved videos. It’s available at http://video.kidzui.com/.
It looks like ZuiTube content actually comes from YouTube, so maybe we can just call this very-well-filtered YouTube. (“Very Well” because the videos are human-reviewed before added to the site, instead of the site relying on machine filtering.)
To use this site you can do a simple keyword search, browse by tag (the tags are more for reactions to the video, like “hot” or “rockin” or even “lame”. Why would you want to browse for lame videos? Anyway…) There are also channels for videos, like cat videos, Sesame Street, etc. There’s a “Play All” mode that allows you to play all the videos in a particular channel, if you can take that many kitten videos at one time.
While I didn’t find any objectionable content on ZuiTube, there were two things about it I really didn’t like.
First thing: the search results show how many views a particular video has gotten, but does not show how long the video is. “Okay, kids! You’ve done your homework. You have fifteen minutes to browse videos on ZuiTube. Unfortunately you won’t be able to budget your time between different kinds of videos because you have no idea how long each video is.” You can’t even tell how long a video is when you’re WATCHING it, for crying out loud.
Second thing: just because these videos are approved for kid-consumption doesn’t mean they’re educational. Otherwise I wouldn’t have spent a few minutes watching a video of someone winning the first couple levels of Ms. Pac-Man. ZuiTube does have an “education” channel, but I’m not sure about the standards by which these videos are chosen. One of the videos in this channel is about 30 seconds of a guy using a nail gun. That’s it. No voiceover, no nothing. (I hope this video doesn’t teach your kid that they know everything there is to know about handling a nailgun.) Another is a camera pointed at a baby pine tree. Um, what?
If you’re looking for a way to browse video with your kids without worrying about objectionable content, this site works. But it needs some more organization, length in the video results, and maybe a meta level of “designed as” educational content.