YouTube Could Force A Rise In The Popularity Of YouTube Kids — Here’s Why

Published on June 19, 2019

YouTube has faced a lot of criticism in recent months over how it handles child safety. A viral article back in February showed how child predators and pedophiles are able to flourish among YouTube’s comment section. Since then, the Google-owned company has been working overtime to make child safety a priority in the future. The company has announced that its next step toward prioritizing child safety may mean moving all kids content to an entirely different platform: YouTube Kids

YouTube Kids

The company created YouTube kids back in 2015. But loose rules and user guidelines on YouTube meant that most kids simply stayed on the platform out of convenience. YouTube announced that it may require all kids content to be moved to the separate platform to prioritize the safety of minors on the web. The benefits of this will be increased moderation focused on minor safety. The company has also mentioned changes like restricting minors from being able to live stream on the website.

Many children creators have suffered from the recent changes made within the website that make it harder for child predators to thrive. Life with MaK, a 13-year old YouTube sensation known for making ASMR videos, was reportedly making as much as $1,000 a day only a couple of months ago. Now, Makenna Kelly has left YouTube altogether. The young creator cites her exit to changes in the company’s policies that have meant that many of her most lucrative videos are being demonetized and removed. The removals were happening as her videos were being dubbed “sexually suggestive” and garnering unwanted attention from adult predators.

A platform like YouTube Kids could be a good option for Kelly. If not for the fact that much of her demographic is, actually, adults. Answers to the problem are not going to come overnight. Many of YouTube’s more successful young creators are paying the price for a problem they have no control over. In the meantime, YouTube has banned comments on thousands of videos that feature minors. Kelly bid farewell to YouTube in an ASMR video posted to her channel on June 17.

Other Changes That Help Kids

The company has also made changes to its algorithm in recent months. First, the company made it harder for conspiracy theory videos to be seen by removing them from suggestions on the platform. Videos that were found to contain conspiracy theories that could be considered hateful, such as suggestions that tragedies like Sandy Hook or 9/11 never happened, were eventually removed altogether. Removing such videos was part of a new initiative to tackle hate-speech on YouTube. Videos that contained hate-speech or hateful commentaries were removed and banned from all future content.

Creating a platform like YouTube has allowed for all sorts of creators to flourish. It’s also created industries that never existed until now. However, companies like Facebook and Google are quickly learning that it comes with an entirely new set of responsibility. Especially in making sure its younger users are kept safe. The next steps are to make it a safe environment for all users.

Julia Sachs is a former Managing Editor at Grit Daily. She covers technology, social media and disinformation. She is based in Utah and before the pandemic she liked to travel.

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