If you’re a parent or a guardian to a minor, you should probably know by now that while YouTube is the most “effective” babysitter, it isn’t the safest place for the young eyes and years. Even YouTube Kids, the app that was created specifically to help monitor what they watch, is not spared from the evils of the Internet. The past few weeks have seen repeated calls from parents and child safety groups for YouTube to increase efforts to protect their young viewers from predatory behavior and harmful content.
While there are also questions about the legitimacy of news items floating around on the Internet and causing panicked parents to be even stricter with their kids’ social media usage, it is a very valid concern. There are still some content that are able to bypass YouTube’s supposedly stringent filters and are still able to insert harmful content and post predatory comments on videos and channels.
And so YouTube has been accelerating their efforts to add extra layers of protection. They have now disabled comments on videos featuring minors since some of these nefarious individuals use the comments section to target children. For the next few months they will also be suspending comments on videos featuring older minors that are “at risk of attracting predatory behavior”. There are some creators that will be able to have comments enabled but they are required to actively moderate their community, both manually and using Google’s moderation tools.
They are also now launching a more effective classifier that should be able to identify and remove comments that are considered predatory. They say that this is “more sweeping in scope” and the system has already identified 2x more individual comments. YouTube has also terminated channels that have been proven to post content that is harmful to children, including those that are supposedly encouraging kids to do dangerous challenges.
Will all these moves be enough to protect children from YouTube content? All of the experts say of course that it isn’t and so parents and guardians have an important role to play in talking to their kids and also monitoring what it is they’re consuming on not just YouTube but other digital platforms as well.