One of my main jobs as a parent of a young child is to protect him. Troubling enough, up until recently, supposed educational videos that were geared toward toddlers and children were making that difficult. YouTube has a problem with disgusting, violent, sexual, and abusive videos creeping through its protective filters. While it's been doing a great job blocking and deleting disturbing content, its greatest leap toward protecting children is in its updated guidelines.
The vice president of product management at YouTube, Johanna Wright, wrote on the company's blog what it is doing to ensure that videos that are geared toward children are 100 percent appropriate for them. Below are the five most important changes that YouTube is making to ensure the safety of our tech-savvy children.
- Tougher application of community guidelines and faster enforcement through technology. Even though YouTube has always had strict guidelines, it is committed to an even stronger crackdown on videos that have been flagged or deemed inappropriate. As part of this enforcement, it is also working more quickly to remove offensive material.
- Removing ads from inappropriate videos targeting families. Even though some videos may be appropriate, the ads that were getting chosen for the content were decidedly not. Sexual ads, violent movie trailers, and misused familiar characters are three examples of the type of advertising it is removing from content. So far, it has removed over 3 million videos with this kind of advertising.
- Blocking inappropriate comments on videos featuring minors. It's no surprise to anyone who has been on the internet that trolls and gross comments are plentiful. Yet while it's partially expected, that doesn't mean it needs to be present on videos meant for children. Working with theNational Center For Missing and Exploited Children, YouTube is reporting illegal and predatory behavior to law enforcement. YouTube is also turning off all comments on videos of minors where those types of comments were mostly being written.
- Providing guidance for creators who make family-friendly content. Urging parents to use the family-friendly application YouTube Kids, YouTube is providing guidance and tutorials for content creators so that they can best meet the needs of children.
- Engaging and learning from experts. YouTube is seeking help from educational experts to determine what is appropriate for young ages and what is not. It can be difficult to decide which cartoons are meant for an older audience, children, and adults and which ones are meant to subvert the audience. Additionally, it is doubling the number of trusted flaggers to help catch disturbing content.