This coming January YouTube is set to make changes that will overhaul how children experience content on the platform.

The move comes after YouTube and Google were fined $170 million this year after YouTube channels were found to be collecting Children’s personal data without parental consent, which was then used to target personalised advertisements.

The changes set to take effect mean that:

  • Creators will have to tell YouTube if content is made for children.

  • The platform will stop using targeted ads on content made for children (but they will still see ‘non-personalised’ ads).

  • The comments feature will be removed from children’s content.

  • Creators who are found to avoid categorising their content correctly may face consequences.

The platform is set to improve its practices in compliance with the US Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. Google commented, that though the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) is a US law, changes will take affect globally.

Creators on the platform use personalised ads to monetise their content, where they can earn money by collecting revenue from ads.

YouTube will use ‘machine learning’ to identify videos that target children and young people, which include those that feature:

  • Children and or characters known to or targeted at children.

  • Popular Children’s shows or animations.

  • Play acting, or stories that use or include children’s toys.

  • Children’s music, songs, stories and or poems.

This move by YouTube is a positive step in improving the digital environment where young people play, learn and socialise.

But the reliance on content creators and ‘machine learning’ to correctly categorise children’s content, means that some content may not be categorised properly. These new rules will also not apply to content that isn’t expressly aimed at children, particularly where older children begin to watch less child-focused content.

The Platform says that parents and carers should know about YouTube Kids.

In any case, enabling Safe Search filters on YouTube is an extra step that parents and carers can take to help keep children and young people safer on the platform. To find out more visit our Safety Centre.