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YouTube has announced New Safety and Digital wellbeing options for younger people on YouTube and YouTube Kids. Everyday scores of young people use YouTube to discover new interests, learn about the world, and connect with the world through online video. But in doing so it is essential that they have the options which safeguards creating the right experience for them.

Source: YouTube

YouTube says: “Over the years, we’ve made investments to protect kids and families, such as launching a dedicated kids app, introducing new data practices for children’s content, providing more age-appropriate experiences, and giving families more choice with supervised accounts.
Let’s have a look at the additional protections for people under 18 on YouTube.

Updating default privacy settings for younger people

In the coming weeks YouTube will start adjusting the default upload setting to the most private option available for users ages 13-17. With private uploads in place, the content can only be seen by the user and whomever they choose. YouTube wants ” to help younger users make informed decisions about their online footprint and digital privacy, including encouraging them to make an intentional choice if they’d like to make their content public.

Making digital wellbeing features more prominent

YouTube wishes to give its younger users the tools needed to understand their use of technology. In addition to their ‘digital well-being tools‘ YouTube will be turning on turning take a break and bedtime reminders by default for all users ages 13-17. It will also be turning autoplay off. But these settings won’t be enforced, if a user wishes then they can change their default settings.  

For YouTube Kids, YouTube will be adding an autoplay option and turn autoplay off by default in the app. This has been done in YouTube’s efforts “to empower parents to be able to choose an autoplay setting that’s right for their family.” In the coming months it will also be launching “additional parental controls in the YouTube Kids app, including the ability for a parent to choose a “locked” default autoplay setting.

Providing safeguards and education about commercial content

YouTube is making changes to how they treat commercial content for kids and families. When it comes to YouTube Kids, paid product placements have never been allowed. In the coming weeks YouTube will “also begin to remove overly commercial content from YouTube Kids, such as a video that only focuses on product packaging or directly encourages children to spend money.”

YouTube says that they have recently “updated the disclosures that appear on “made for kids” content or supervised accounts on YouTube when a creator identifies that their video contains paid promotions. Developed in collaboration with child development experts, the disclosures appear in easy-to-understand text and link to a kid-friendly animated video, which provides additional information on paid product placements.” A parent guide has also been provided which “suggests ways for parents to help children understand content they may see on YouTube, including paid product promotions.

Anne Collier, executive director, The Net Safety Collaborative says: “Being mindful about tech use is key to everyone’s wellbeing. These new defaults for teens are protective; they increase safe, mindful tech use by making teens think about what they want to see and who they want seeing their content.