Spotify Kids app rolls out blocking, listening history features for parents

Sarah Perez

Spotify is expanding the capabilities of its parental controls on its Spotify Kids app, aimed at children ages 3 and up on a parent's Spotify Premium Family plan. Before, parents could only select whether the child was directed to the experience for younger or older children. Now, they'll be able to specifically block content from their child's account when accessing the child's listening history.

These features had been hinted at when Spotify Kids made its U.S. debut in March. At the time, Spotify said it heard from parents testing the app in other markets how they wanted to have even more control over the app's included content. Though the company didn't detail its plans then, it did say new features would involve allowing parents making more specific choices over what their child could stream.

Both new features are now included in the PIN-protected "Grown Ups" section, previously called the "Parental Settings." Once there, a parent can select which child's account they want to to update or view.

The Listening History option will allow them to view every track the child has streamed on the Spotify Kids app over the past three months. From here, a parent can also opt to select a track and block it by tapping the "block" icon next to the track in question.

These blocked tracks are then removed from the child's account and can't be streamed. However, parents can unblock the track further down the road if they choose, by accessing either the Listening History section or the Blocked Tracks section and tapping the red icon next to each track.

Spotify says these new features are the first step in many planned updates for its Kids application, which today includes more than 8,000 kid-appropriate songs, stories, audiobooks and sounds that are curated into 125+ playlists. Though the app is aimed at kids young and old, many children will age out of it around their tweens, despite its support for an "older kids" experience. That's because kids have established some favorite artists and musical preferences by then, and the more limited catalog on Spotify Kids doesn't deliver. Plus, the downside of hand-curation means newly emerging hits -- like, say, those blowing up on TikTok -- may not make an appearance on Spotify Kids until later.

While it makes sense that Spotify would focus more immediately on parental controls catering to parents of the younger children, in time being able to go the other direction -- perhaps a whitelisting option or the import of pre-approved playlists -- would be appreciated by parents of older kids.

The Spotify Kids app is now live across 14 global markets, including as of today, Japan and Germany.