Is YouTube (Finally) Protecting Children?

by Jan 21, 2020Screen Time

We love sharing good news! Here’s some good news about the new YouTube changes!

After a $170 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), YouTube is finally making some changes in an effort to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

What’s new: YouTube content creators will now have to categorize whether or not their content is made for kids. They can choose the category for their entire channel or for individual videos.

Why it’s good for kids: YouTube is no longer serving personalized ads or support features such as comments, Stories, live chat, notification bell and others on videos designated “Made for kids”.

The disabling of these features means YouTube is not collecting data on kids which brings them into compliance with COPPA. Not only do these features protect your child’s privacy, they also protect them from inappropriate comments and chatting with strangers. And hopefully some inappropriate content as well, though that’s not promised.

YouTube has also stated they will have algorithms in place to check to see if videos labeled “Made for kids” are appropriately labeled. Viewers will be able to report miscategorized videos as well.

What could be better? Common Sense Media feels the rules don’t go far enough. The new rules place the burden to protect children on creators, with YouTube itself taking no responsibility. Ariel Johnson of Common Sense Media stated that while the new policies are “…entirely consistent with what YouTube is required to do under this settlement order,” she felt “…that the settlement order fell short for kids and families and all the protections that they need.”

Under the new rules, creators will be held accountable and potentially fined by the FTC if they mislabel content. YouTube will not be responsible whatsoever. YouTube could do more to remedy the situation, but they are doing all that is required of them by law.

Summing it up: In the end, we are happy to see that YouTube was fined and held accountable for not protecting our children by complying with COPPA. And while we always hope for even more protections for our children, this is definitely a step in the right direction. We hope to see more outcomes like this with other companies.

YouTube still has a long ways to go content-wise. These new policies DO NOT mean you can be less-vigilant in your children’s use of YouTube. It is still vitally important that you apply parental controls and monitor your kids’ YouTube use. For some help on that, check out our article At last! Stronger YouTube Kids Parental Controls: A Step-by-Step Guide.

Our friends at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation continue to pressure YouTube for changes. If you’d like to know how YOU can take action to make a difference, visit the National Center on Sexual Exploitation’s YouTube page.

Want to read more about YouTube and Kids? Check out some articles we have written on this subject in the past:

Parent Alert! YouTube’s Pedophile Problem + How Clever Kids Misuse Google Docs

Parent Alert! Disturbing Videos on YouTube Kids

Worried about YouTube? Finally a SAFE Way to Share Videos!

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