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How does YouTube help keep children protected on the platform?

We're always looking at ways to create an appropriate environment for family content on YouTube, so we invest heavily in the policies, technology and teams that help to provide children and families with the best protection possible.

Fostering child safety

What is YouTube Kids?

YouTube Kids is a separate app built from the ground up to be a safer and simpler experience for children to explore, with tools for parents and caregivers to guide their journey.

The app is a filtered version of YouTube and has a much smaller set of content available compared with YouTube's main app and website. This is because we work to identify content that's age-appropriate, adheres to our quality principles and is diverse enough to meet the varied interests of children globally.

Our YouTube Kids policies outline what kind of content is eligible to be part of YouTube Kids. These policies were designed using feedback from parents and external specialists in child development, children's media, digital learning and citizenship. Content must comply with these policies for it to appear in YouTube Kids. For example, we do not allow videos in YouTube Kids that include declared paid product placements or endorsements, nor content that's overly commercial or promotional.

We work hard to keep videos on YouTube Kids family-friendly, and we use a mix of automated filters built by our engineering teams, human review and feedback from parents to protect our community. We are constantly working to improve our safeguards and offer more features to help parents create the right experience for their families.

What is a supervised experience on YouTube beta?

We've worked with parents and experts across the globe in areas related to child safety, child development and digital literacy to develop another option for parents of tweens and teens. In 2021 we launched a new experience in beta for parents who decide that their tween or teen is ready to access YouTube through a supervised Google Account.

The videos that a child can watch depend on the content setting that their parent selects when setting up a supervised experience. Parents will choose from three different content settings: Explore, Explore More and Most of YouTube.

We've disabled a number of standard features normally available in YouTube, like comments, uploads, purchases and live chat. To reinforce healthy screen-time habits, reminders for breaks and bedtime are set to On by default and YouTube's auto-play feature is set to Off by default.

What child safety measures exist on the main YouTube app?

We invest heavily in the technology and teams that help to provide children and families with the best protection possible.

On YouTube, we require users to be 13 years of age (or the applicable age in their country) unless otherwise enabled by a parent or caregiver. Our Community Guidelines outline content that's not allowed on the platform, and specific child safety policies prohibit content that may put children at particular risk.

On YouTube Kids, we work to identify content that's age-appropriate, adheres to our quality principles and is diverse enough to meet the varied interests of children globally. This includes specific content policies designed with feedback from external specialists in children's media, child development, digital learning and citizenship.

We continue to evolve our platform to ensure that we're creating an appropriate environment for family content on YouTube, and make improvements to our products and policies that reflect the input of outside experts and internal specialists where relevant.

Is YouTube collecting children's data to serve them ads?

We treat data from anyone watching content identified as 'Made for Kids' on YouTube as coming from a child, regardless of the age of the user. This means that on videos defined as 'Made for Kids', we limit data collection and use, and as a result, we need to restrict or disable some product features. For example, we do not serve personalised ads on 'Made for Kids' content, and some features are not available on these videos, like comments and notifications. All creators are required to indicate whether their content is 'Made for Kids'.

Personalised ads are prohibited on YouTube Kids, as well as for users in a supervised experience on YouTube. This means that the ads that appear are matched to videos being watched based on the content, not the specific user watching.

How is YouTube protecting children who post content as a creator or feature in videos by other creators?

As noted in our Terms of Service, children under the relevant age of consent may use YouTube or YouTube Kids (where available) if enabled by a parent or legal guardian.

On YouTube Kids, and within a parent-supervised experience on YouTube, children aren't able to upload content, live stream, read or write comments, or access any features that involve financial transactions. We have additional protections for minors on live streams, such as terminating streams featuring minors who aren't visibly accompanied by an adult.

We also provide best practices for child safety and prominent prompts for creators with children in their videos to understand their legal obligations. In addition to securing consent, it is their responsibility to comply with all the laws, rules and regulations applicable to the appearance of children in their content – including required permits, wages/revenue sharing, school and education, and working environment and working hours.

How does YouTube restrict access to mature content?

We are committed to providing age-appropriate experiences when people come to YouTube. We recognise that creators are generally the best judge of who should see their content, so we give them the ability to age-restrict their own content when appropriate. When content is age-restricted, viewers coming to YouTube must be signed in and their account age must be 18 or older in order to view the video. If they aren't, they will see a warning and be redirected to find other content that is age-appropriate. Our Community Guidelines include guidance for uploaders about when content should be age-restricted.

Our reviewers apply age-restrictions if, in the course of reviewing content, they encounter a video that isn't appropriate for viewers under 18. We also use machine learning to detect content to help us automatically apply age restrictions where appropriate. Uploaders can appeal a decision if they believe that it was incorrectly applied.

To make sure that viewing experiences are consistent, viewers attempting to access age-restricted videos on most third-party websites will be redirected to YouTube where they must sign in and be over 18 to view them. This helps ensure that, no matter where a video is discovered, it will only be viewable by the appropriate audience.

How does YouTube protect children who appear in risky situations in videos?

We have always had clear policies against videos, playlists, thumbnails and comments on YouTube that sexualise or exploit children. We use machine learning systems to attempt to proactively detect violations of these policies and have human reviewers around the world who quickly remove violations detected by our systems or flagged by users. We immediately terminate the accounts of those who are seeking to sexualise or exploit minors, and we report illegal activities to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), which liaises with global law enforcement agencies.

While some content featuring minors may not violate our policies, we recognise that the minors could be at risk of online or offline exploitation. This is why we take an extra cautious approach towards our enforcement. Our machine learning systems help to proactively identify videos that may put minors at risk and apply our protections at scale, such as restricting live features, disabling comments and limiting recommendations.

We also work with the industry, including technology companies and NGOs by offering our industry-leading machine learning technology for combating CSAI (Child Sexual Abuse Imagery) content online. This technology allows us to identify known CSAI content in a sea of innocent content. When a match of CSAI content is found, it is then flagged to partners to responsibly report in accordance with local laws and regulations.

Meet Youth and Families Advisory Committee