How many parents out there have trusted their kids to be on YouTube only to be confronted with the “Flying Bum” video that your 7 year old thinks is hilaaaaaaarious? (Admittedly the 7 year old in me laughed too, but that’s beside the point!) Ken Yarmosh was one of those dads. Frustrated with the hazy levels of scrutiny YouTube Kids’ videos received, he decided to get back to a project he had thought up years earlier; a human curated video collection that both kids and adults can enjoy. When I say “human curated” I mean just that. Ken and his team pour through the videos themselves to ensure that little kids aren’t going to be sucked into the pit of “unboxing videos” or suddenly be terrified by something geared towards older kids.
The Jellies App was launched in October. We love the parental controls of it and the age range settings you can put in. Topics your kids love can also be kept at the forefront. For us that would mean nonstop garbage truck and kitten vids. We “spoke” with Ken (email is pretty much speaking nowadays, right?) and asked him a bit about the app and it’s creation.
1- What made you come up with the idea for Jellies?
My kids, of course!
Online videos are now just part of our culture. My children, like all others, would find their way onto YouTube and similar outlets, with our supervision, only to frequently need to quickly close a tab or minimize an app.
I was very hopeful that kid-focused apps and services would solve these problems because more and more kept popping up over time. Inappropriate ads, unboxings, child “stars,” and comparable problems were in some ways even more rampant in them though. Plus you get the false sense of security because they are “for kids.” So I decided to finally pursue Jellies after years of not doing so.
2- How long did it take your team to compile the list of videos you have?
We started working on Jellies back in August 2016. Initially, it was an embarrassingly basic prototype that I tested with my kids only. It was barely usable but proved out what was possible. We decided to go full force into creating the best option on the market about a year ago though.
The year timeline really includes building a great parent experience, a great kid experience, and curating all the videos, which would resonate with both groups. We labored over many details, completely changed certain aspects over time, did extensive user testing, and really just wanted to get everything right. We have many more ideas but felt we had to get into the market based on everything that’s been happening lately. We soft launched back on 10/10.
3- Did you let your kids have any input in the creation?
They are absolutely the co-creators of Jellies. Most of the topics (playlists) come directly from them. They also get a little bounty any time they find bugs within our app.
4- Do your kids still try to sneak onto YouTube for the unboxing videos?
Thankfully, they don’t! Over time, they stopped asking for those kinds of videos because we were providing more interesting content on Jellies. Our topics range from firetrucks & garbage trucks, figure skating & cooking, and even carnivorous plants. I’m not even doing our catalog justice…the point is there’s a bunch of really fun yet educational topics for them to explore and we add to the inventory each week.
5- What other apps would you recommend for parents?
Apps similar to Jellies that my kids enjoy are Storybots, PBS Kids, Disney Junior, and Nick Jr. We don’t see those kinds of apps as competitors because they each have their place. Kids like diversity and I love that Jellies gets included in the mix when our own kids get device time. They’ll jump across each of these. It was a proud moment for me when Jellies earned its place amongst those kinds of options.
So if you’re a parent that’s looking for a safer alternative to the free-for-all that a lot of the video sites seem to be, Jellies seems to be the site that can alleviate a lot of those worries. Click here to see more.