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YouTube will treat all "children's content" as if kids are watching

YouTube is making changes to treat all "children's content" as if a child is watching. That will affect the way they collect data, serve ads, and what engagement features are available.

Update November 12, 2019: YouTube now requires creators indicate whether their videos are "made for kids" or not. Learn how to update your channel or videos' Audience setting.

If you create YouTube videos that could be considered "children's content" upcoming changes may affect your channel. And if you are a parent, you'll be glad to learn that YouTube is finally acknowledging that younger kids aren't always using YouTube Kids to watch videos.
Starting in about four months, we will treat data from anyone watching children’s content on YouTube as coming from a child, regardless of the age of the user.
That means the changes will go into effect around the beginning of January 2020.

Here is what's changing on videos "made for kids":
Creators will be required to indicate that their videos are aimed at kids. And YouTube isn't just trusting Creators; they will also be using machine learning to identify kid-targeted videos as well. 

  • Children or children’s characters
  • Popular children’s programming or animated characters
  • Play-acting, or stories using children’s toys
  • Child protagonists engaging in common natural play patterns such as play-acting and/or imaginative play
  • Popular children’s songs, stories or poems
A few weeks ago YouTube announced that they would be removing any such content aimed at kids that includes "adult themes", such as violence, sex or death. This is a much broader change, that will impact videos that are allowed under YouTube policy.

While these changes are meant to comply with the U.S. Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), YouTube notes that creators outside the US need to make sure their content complies with their own country's law.
Important note to creators: Creators need to consider their applicable legal obligations when evaluating whether their content may be made for kids, including how the age of a child is defined in their country.
There should be additional information for Creators on how to comply with these changes over the coming months.

Resources for Creators

Updates to YouTube Kids

YouTube still recommends that parents aim their kids YouTube Kids, which became available on desktop last week at  At YouTube Kids, parents can either choose to allow the content identified by YouTube as kid-friendly, or parents can hand pick content for their kids to watch. 

Parents can choose whether the available content is aimed at "Preschool" (under 5), "Younger" (age 5-7), or "Older" (age 8-12) kids. When kids reach 13, they are allowed to use YouTube proper in most countries.

Of course many kids can get around parental restrictions. YouTube's policy change acknowledges that kids may be watching videos on unsupervised.

Resources for Parents

Why is YouTube making this change now? 

YouTube says they are making this change due to legal concerns in the US.  Today the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced YouTube is paying a "record" $170 million settlement to the FTC and the state of New York for alleged violations of COPPA. The settlement also requires YouTube make changes.
In addition to the monetary penalty, the proposed settlement requires Google and YouTube to develop, implement, and maintain a system that permits channel owners to identify their child-directed content on the YouTube platform so that YouTube can ensure it is complying with COPPA. In addition, the companies must notify channel owners that their child-directed content may be subject to the COPPA Rule’s obligations and provide annual training about complying with COPPA for employees who deal with YouTube channel owners.
YouTube "worked with the FTC to give impacted creators four months to adjust before these changes take effect on".

More Information

Learn more about YouTube's policies around content aimed at children: