Industry News & Trends

YouTube launch new supervised experiences for tweens and teens

YouTube is launching new “supervised” experiences to enhance safety for Teens and Tweens. Adding to their YouTube Kids option which has been available since 2015, YouTube has recognised that a gap exists for children who perhaps do not need their content limited to the extent of YouTube Kids, but who nevertheless are too young to roam YouTube’s channels with complete freedom.

“Over the last year, we've worked with parents and experts across the globe in areas related to child safety, child development, and digital literacy to develop a solution for parents of tweens and teens.” James Beser, Director of Product Management, Kids and Family

Explore, Explore More, and Most of YouTube

To be launched in beta form in March, the three new options Explore, Explore More, and Most of YouTube are designed to provide progressively greater access across topics and genres such as vlogs, gaming videos and livestreams, and to content depicting increasingly mature approaches to themes such as sex, sexual and gender identity and violence.

To determine the eligibility of videos, YouTube will use a combination of user input, machine learning and human review. They acknowledge that their systems will make mistakes though so for parents who are not comfortable with this they recommending sticking with YouTube Kids.

Protection from Grooming and Self-Generated Content

YouTube’s emphasis with this launch is on the content which can be accessed by young people. However, as hotlines in the INHOPE network see a rise in the number of children who are groomed into recording their own abuse, a phenomenon known as “self-generated content”, a big concern for us and others in the fight against Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) is what kind of content children are able to upload and share of themselves.

Since 2019, YouTube has disallowed those under the age of 13 to livestream unless visibly accompanied by an adult. In their family guide to the new services, YouTube state that “[a] kid in a supervised account will not be able to create a channel to upload videos, or comment on videos.” YouTube say they will continue updating these features, and add them on an age-appropriate basis.

A Matter of Collaboration

Making children and teenagers safe online cannot be done by hotlines and law enforcement alone, but requires collaboration from the technology companies creating the services which children and teenagers use and which can be used to share CSAM. INHOPE is happy to see that by adding these new supervised experiences to their services, YouTube is enabling parents to respect their teenagers’ need for greater freedom and autonomy, while retaining some of the features which help keep them safe.

To read out more about why children need to be protected on YouTube, click here.

YouTube launch new supervised experiences for tweens and teens
04.03.2021 - by INHOPE

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