Study shows cute kids are YouTube clickbait; child advocates concerned

By Arriana McLymore

YouTube videos featuring young children drew nearly triple the average viewership of the platform's other content, according to research that provided ammunition for child advocates who want Alphabet Inc to take more aggressive steps to make its streaming service safer for kids.

Pew Research Center said its findings show videos aimed at or featuring children are among YouTube's most popular materials, attracting an outsized audience relative to the number uploaded.

YouTube has come under fire in recent years from lawmakers and parent groups who contend it has not done enough to protect the privacy of minors.

Last year, the Center for Digital Democracy and the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), saying YouTube's parent company violated the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.

The complaint said the company "made a vast amount of money by using children's personal information" and "profited from advertising revenues from ads on its YouTube channels that are watched by children."

"YouTube likes to pretend its not a site for children until it's time to sell ads," CCFC Executive Director Josh Golin said.

"We have always been clear YouTube has never been for people under 13," said YouTube, which announced 2 billion monthly users in May. The platform shares limited data, but music, gaming and kids' content are known to rank highly in viewership.

Other groups have called for more steps to block access to age-inappropriate content and to deter potential predators. Complaints prompted YouTube to introduce punishments for parents uploading videos showing kids placed in dangerous situations. The platform has said it is weighing additional changes.

Pew researchers said they analyzed activity during the first week of 2019 on nearly 44,000 YouTube channels with more than 250,000 subscribers.

Just 2% of the 243,000 videos uploaded that week featured at least one individual that looked under 13 years old to human reviewers. But the small subset received an average of 298,000 views, compared with 97,000 for videos without children, according to the report. Median viewership figures were about 57,000 and 14,000.

Channels that uploaded at least one video featuring a child averaged 1.8 million subscribers, compared to 1.2 million for those that did not, Pew said.

YouTube said it could not comment on Pew's survey methods or results. It maintained that the most popular categories are comedy, music, sports and "how to" videos.

Popular videos with children included those with parenting tips or children singing or dressing up.

YouTube's policies ban children under 13 from using its main service and instead direct them to its curated YouTube Kids app. But many parents use the main YouTube service to entertain or educate children, other research has found.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

don't view YouTube much anymore

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

YouTube needs to clean up what gets put on even more. There's been hateful propaganda crap, New Age trash, and videos exploiting children for all the perverts to get their jollies from. There are videos of parents punishing kids in a sickening manner that should put the parents into jail for mental child cruelty! And that viral video of that teenager for that godawful 'Friday' song is embarrassing and exploitative beyond belief.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You Tube ? That's yesterday's tech for Kids.... they've moved on since, but have Parents ? (And Regulators) ?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

mmwkdwToday 12:57 am JSTYou Tube ? That's yesterday's tech for Kids.... they've moved on since

To what? YouTube is great to explore, see and hear new artists and new music. You can 'try before you buy'

 a new album. I just did so with the new Soundgarden live 2 CD set yesterday. It's great, it rocks, it's a slammer!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites