YouTube Updates Default Settings on Kids Content: Amid ongoing lockouts around the world that keep everyone at home, limiting entertainment options, it is almost impossible for parents to stop their children spending more and more time online, particularly watching YouTube content, in an attempt to beat the fever.
YouTube stars now occupy more space in young people’s lives than traditional actors and musicians, and many of them have formed strong bonds with their young viewers that keep them coming back. The problem is that parents are finding it increasingly difficult to control their children’s actions on the app: even the best content blockers and monitoring tools still miss some questionable material, and interactions in posts still leave them open to potential risk.
But as parents also try to do their jobs from home, many are left to cross their fingers and hope for the best, which is not an ideal way to protect children from viewing content.
To that end, YouTube today announced new measures to protect young users from questionable content and unwanted exposure to the platform: new default privacy settings for content uploaded by young people, as well as new reminders and prompts to help avoid overuse.
First about the new upload settings – in the coming weeks, YouTube says it will update the default privacy settings for uploads by users ages 13-17 to “the most private option.”
According to YouTube:
“With private uploads, content can only be seen by the user and whomever they choose. We want to help young users make informed decisions about their online footprint and digital privacy, including encouraging them to make informed choices if they want to make their content public. If a user wants to make their content public, they can change their default upload visibility settings, and we’ll provide reminders indicating who can see their videos.”
So kids can still soften the default settings, but by using this as a starting point, YouTube is hoping that young users will get more information about the risks involved, potentially limiting unwanted exposure on the app.
YouTube also aims to combat overuse by adding “take a break” and “bedtime” reminders, also by default, for all users ages 13-17.
“We will also disable auto-play by default for these users. If the user decides that these digital wellbeing features are not appropriate for them, they will be able to change the default settings.”
So, again, savvy teenagers can simply turn off these settings as they see fit – and most of them are much more savvy and considerate of this sort of thing than their parents. But by introducing new default settings, YouTube aims to raise awareness of its various options in this regard, in order to increase security.
And finally, in what could be a big blow to kid-fluencers, YouTube is also removing more commercial content from YouTube Kids.
“We’ve never allowed paid products to be posted on YouTube Kids, our destination for young children. In the coming weeks, we will also begin removing overly commercial content from YouTube Kids, such as videos that focus only on product packaging or that explicitly encourage kids to spend money.”
Last year, YouTube announced major changes to its rules for advertising in videos aimed at kids, which have already caused serious headaches for content creators in the genre. The new rules will further limit their monetization potential – and when you consider that the platform’s biggest overall earner, Ryan Kagee, who earned $29.5 million in 2020, creates content aimed exclusively at kids, the earning potential in this segment is clearly great.
The new rules will force these creators to do another reevaluation, as YouTube puts user well-being ahead of profits in this regard.
As noted, given YouTube’s growing reliance on YouTube as entertainment, as well as efforts to mitigate COVID, it makes sense for YouTube to add more options to help parents better manage their children’s time and exposure to the app.
These changes will have some implications for creators, and most of them can be negated by kids who probably know more about these settings than you do. But implementing these default settings can help raise awareness and reduce harm from using the app.