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YouTube announces a policy overhaul to protect kids’ privacy

In September 2019, YouTube announced a series of changes to better protect kids and their privacy on the medium and to address concerns raised by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Specifically, that all creators will be required to designate their content as made for kids or not made for kids in YouTube Studio, and data from anyone watching a video designated as made for kids will be treated as coming from a child, regardless of the age of the user.

In November, YouTube also released a setting in Studio to make it easier for creators to designate their content. Soon, it will begin to roll out these changes globally. Here is an outline what you will start to see in the coming days, as stated on a YouTube blog.

What is made for kids content?

According to the FTC, a video is made for kids if it is intended for kids, taking into consideration a variety of factors. These factors include the subject matter of the video, whether the video has an emphasis on kids characters, themes, toys or games, and more.To help identify made for kids content, in November YouTube introduced a new audience setting in YouTube Studio to help creators indicate whether or not their content is made for kids. Creators know their content best, and should set the designation themselves. YouTube will also use machine learning to help identify this content, and creators can update a designation made by the systems if they believe it is incorrect.

An updated experience for made for kids content

YouTube now treats personal information from anyone watching children’s content on the platform as coming from a child, regardless of the age of the user. This means that on videos made for kids, we limit data collection and use, and as a result, YouTube will need to restrict or disable some product features. For example, the platform will no longer serve personalised ads on kids' content or support features such as comments, live chat, notification bell, stories, save to playlist, etc. Many creators around the world have created quality kids content for their audiences, and these changes will have significant impact.

The blog post mentioned that the company is committed to helping creators navigate this new landscape and to supporting the ecosystem of family content. The post also promised to share more in the coming months, in the meantime, promising to continue to engage with this issue. The platform still recommends that parents use YouTube Kids if they plan to allow kids under 13 to watch videos independently. Starting today (the post is dated 6th January 2020), users will see a YouTube Kids promotion across all made for kids content. YouTube also recently launched sign-in support for YouTube Kids on the web and connected devices — such as smart TVs — so parents can now access and control their child’s YouTube Kids experience across more screens.