An update on kids and data protection on YouTube

Responsibility is our number one priority at YouTube, and nothing is more important than protecting kids and their privacy. We’ve been significantly investing in the policies, products and practices to help us do this. From its earliest days, YouTube has been a site for people over 13, but with a boom in family content and the rise of shared devices, the likelihood of children watching without supervision has increased. We’ve been taking a hard look at areas where we can do more to address this, informed by feedback from parents, experts, and regulators, including COPPA concerns raised by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the New York Attorney General that we are addressing with a settlement announced today.

New data practices for children’s content on YouTube

We are changing how we treat data for children’s content on YouTube. 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. This means that we will limit data collection and use on videos made for kids only to what is needed to support the operation of the service. We will also stop serving personalized ads on this content entirely, and some features will no longer be available on this type of content, like comments and notifications. In order to identify content made for kids, creators will be required to tell us when their content falls in this category, and we’ll also use machine learning to find videos that clearly target young audiences, for example those that have an emphasis on kids characters, themes, toys, or games.

Toy kids gun

Improvements to YouTube Kids

We continue to recommend parents use YouTube Kids if they plan to allow kids under 13 to watch independently. Tens of millions of people use YouTube Kids every week but we want even more parents to be aware of the app and its benefits. We’re increasing our investments in promoting YouTube Kids to parents with a campaign that will run across YouTube. We’re also continuing to improve the product. For example, we recently raised the bar for which channels can be a part of YouTube Kids, drastically reducing the number of channels on the app. And we’re bringing the YouTube Kids experience to the desktop.

Investing in family creators

We know these changes will have a significant business impact on family and kids creators who have been building both wonderful content and thriving businesses, so we’ve worked to give impacted creators four months to adjust before changes take effect on YouTube. We recognize this won’t be easy for some creators and are committed to working with them through this transition and providing resources to help them better understand these changes.

We are also going to continue investing in the future of quality kids, family and educational content. We are establishing a $100 million fund, disbursed over three years, dedicated to the creation of thoughtful, original children’s content on YouTube and YouTube Kids globally.

Training our teams

Championing the protections we have in place for children is a shared responsibility across the company. To that end, we are introducing new, mandatory annual training for our teams about our requirements in this area.

Today’s changes will allow us to better protect kids and families on YouTube, and this is just the beginning. We’ll continue working with lawmakers around the world in this area, including as the FTC seeks comments on COPPA. And in the coming months, we’ll share details on how we’re rethinking our overall approach to kids and families, including a dedicated kids experience on YouTube. I have the privilege of working alongside parents who deeply care about protecting kids. We know how important it is to provide children, families and family creators the best experience possible on YouTube and we are committed to getting it right.

Susan Wojcicki