Upcoming changes for content targeting kids on YouTube

Upcoming changes for content targeting kids on YouTube

After concerns raised by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding YouTube's compliance under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), YouTube announced changes that will be made in about in the next four months. When implemented, YouTube will treat data from anyone watching children’s content on YouTube as coming from a child, regardless of the age of the user.

In summary, the changes made to YouTube.com are:
  1. Creators are required to tell YouTube if the content is made for kids
  2. YouTube will stop serving personalized ads on content that is made for kids (whether designated by creators or by YouTube tools)
  3. Comments will no longer be available on the watch page. Likes/dislikes and subscriptions on this content will not show up on public lists. Live chat, subscriber notifications, Stories, and the "Save to Playlist" will not be available.
In order to identify content made for kids, creators are required to self-certify when their content falls in this category; machine learning will be used to find videos that clearly target young audiences. Channel owners are required to designate (in YouTube Studio) which of their videos are made for kids, and if a creator attempts to avoid categorizing their content correctly, there channel will be at risk of being fully demonetized.

Examples of content that is designed for kids:
  1. Children or children’s characters.
  2. Popular children’s programming or animated characters.
  3. Play-acting, or stories using children’s toys.
  4. Child protagonists engaging in common natural play patterns such as play-acting and/or imaginative play.
  5. Popular children’s songs, stories or poems.

Setting your channel audience (all videos):

If you believe all of your content is made for kids, you can save time and choose a channel setting. Channel settings affect all existing and future videos, however, settings for individual videos will override the channel settings. Keep in mind, adding a channel setting will restrict certain features on your channel.

To set all of your channel’s videos as made for kids, follow these steps:
  1. Sign in to studio.youtube.com.
  2. On the left menu, click Settings.
  3. Click Channel.
  4. Click the Advanced settings tab.
  5. Under Audience, choose Yes, set this channel as made for kids. I always upload content that’s made for kids.
  6. Click Save.

Setting your audience (individual videos):

Note that applying settings for individual videos will override the channel setting. You can set individual videos as made for kids by following these steps:
  1. Upload a video as you normally would.
  2. On the "Details" tab, scroll to "Audience."
  3. Choose Yes, it’s made for kids.
  4. Click Next to continue uploading your content.

Does marking my video as “Not Made for Kids” mean it’s only suitable for adults?
If you set your audience as "Not Made for Kids", this does not mean that it's only suitable for audiences 18+, nor does it mean YouTube is going to age restrict your content. Age restriction is a separate setting when a vídeo's content is only appropriate for audiences that are 18+. For example, videos that include vulgar language, violence & disturbing imagery that provides enough context to understand it. For more details about age restricted content, click here.

What do I do if my content is applicable to a wide audience, but is not “Made for Kids” specifically?
As the creator, you know best the audience you are trying to reach with your content. Think about who you are trying to reach with your content, are you creating this content for children to enjoy, or does it appeal more to parents and adults? Also, take a look at the features of your video, does it have actors, characters, activities, games, songs, or stories that attract children particularly? If so, your video may considered as being made for kids. For further information on determining whether content is made for kids, see the FTC’s guidance here. Make sure to check this article as well.  Note that in case of doubt, you may also want to consult a lawyer. 

I'm a vlogger, should I mark my content as “Made for Kids”?
That will depend on the audience you are trying to reach. To determin whether content is made for kids, see the FTC’s guidance here. Make sure to check this article as well. Note that in case of doubt, you may also want to consult a lawyer. 

I create gaming videos, should I mark my content as “Made for Kids”? 
Different games can appeal to different audiences. With this in mind, think about whether the content you’ve created is directed towards kids, not just the audience of the game you’re playing in a video alone. Remember: COPPA applies to all videos on YouTube, including gaming content. To determin whether content is made for kids, see the FTC’s guidance here. Make sure to check this article as well. Note that in case of doubt, you may also want to consult a lawyer. 

How does YouTube's system / algorithm define content as “Made for Kids”?
YouTube is using the factors set forth by the FTC to identify “Made for Kids” content. For example, it’s working to identify videos that focus on subject matter or content that is designed for kids, like those that have an emphasis on kids’ characters, themes, toys, or games.More examples here.

If I mark my content as “Made for Kids” will there still be ads in my videos?
YouTube also clarified that they will continue to serve non-personalized ads (based on context) in content for kids, although they are removing the personalized ads (based on user data). As a result, this may lead to a decrease in revenue for some creators. 

Related to these changes, YouTube is establishing a $100 million fund, disbursed over three years, dedicated to the creation of thoughtful, original children’s content on YouTube and YouTube Kids globally.

Related links:
  1. Frequently asked questions about "made for kids"
  2. Upcoming changes to kids content on YouTube.com
  3. YouTube article about targeting for video campaigns
  4. Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule ("COPPA") - Frequently asked questions
  5. Determining if your content is made for kids
  6. Set your channel or video’s audience
  7. Important Update for All Creators: Complying with COPPA

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