It’s fair to say that a lot of us will be familiar with YouTube. It’s one of the largest platforms to host content in the world and no doubt, we’ve all jumped on to watch videos of funny cats at some point. What makes it so appealing is that no matter what your interest may be, YouTube probably has a lot of content to support it. There’s videos about DIY, self-improvement, exercise, video games, the list goes on and on. As well as this, it gives individuals a platform to create their own content and share with others.
Children and young people need to be 13 to have a YouTube account - this allows them to post content online. As well as this, YouTube offers YouTube kids as an alternative for children under 13 which filters content towards more family friendly videos that may be more appropriate as well as involving more parental controls and features.
Building on from this, YouTube has decided to update their privacy features further as a way to help better protect children and young people on their platform. This has been part of the latest social media privacy updates that have occurred over the past year, with Tiktok and Instagram also making changes to how children and young people’s accounts are managed.
YouTube Privacy and Wellbeing Updates
Last month, YouTube announced the following changes were being made to their platform in the near future.
- Under 18 accounts to be defaulted to ‘Private’ – this allows users to decide who is allowed to see their content without making it ‘Public’.
- Autoplay feature is switched off by default on under 18 accounts – this ensures video content isn’t continuously shown one after the other.
- Autoplay is being added to Youtube Kids with the feature being switched off by default.
- Bedtime reminders and ‘Take a Break’ alerts set to default on under 18 accounts.
- Commercial content to be reviewed on Youtube Kids – content that encourages children to spend money will be removed.
- Updated disclosure information to creators around including paid for promotions in videos directed at children and young people.
Considerations for Keeping Children Safe Online
While the new features are a welcome update to the platform, they heavily rely on children and young people to be invested in keeping their accounts safe. The defaulted settings can be switched back at any time, meaning young people are given the option to determine how their accounts are managed. To set up an account, children need to be honest with their age – YouTube can present content that is unsuitable for children and heavily relies on honesty when it comes to age restrictions.
It is important that children and young people understand the potential risks associated with publishing video content online as well as encouraging them to think critically about the content they are putting out and the potential audience who may see it. These new updates are a good reminder to younger users around how to keep accounts safer but it lands on the family to ensure their accounts are being managed the way they want.
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