Apple is making it easier for parents to find podcasts to listen to with their kids. The company is teaming up with nonprofit Common Sense Media, which specializes in age-based content reviews, to curate various collections that’ll appear in the Apple Podcasts app in the US and online. The initial four themes focus on narrative storytelling, shows that kids themselves recommend, mysteries and dramas, and Common Sense’s “all-time” picks. Programming comes from Tinkercast, American Public Media, WNYC Studios, Rebel Girls, and Nickelodeon, among others, and Common Sense will provide age group recommendations.
The collections will be updated monthly with new themes being tied to “important historical and cultural moments,” like Women’s History Month. You’ll see these show suggestions starting today in Apple Podcasts’ main homepage carousel, and then they’ll be available through the Browse tab indefinitely.
Podcasts for children have become increasingly popular as the hype around audio grows and parents look for ways to keep their kids entertained without relying on a screen. Common Sense previously published podcast recommendations, but this new partnership with Apple represents its biggest commitment to audio programming yet. Hot Pod writer Nick Quah reported last year that kid podcast creators saw huge bumps in listenership at the start of the pandemic. One company, Gen-Z Media, said its show Six Minutes performed about 2 million downloads a month, but during the pandemic, it was on track for 3 million.
Other companies, like Spotify and Amazon, place their kid-approved content into separate apps and experiences. Apple seems to think that’s unnecessary for now and that parents can instead rely on themed collections to oversee what their kids enjoy listening to. Apple does provide a kid-oriented device experience, but that’s more to give parents control and insight into what their children are consuming than having Apple actually whitelist content.