As a nationwide investigation of YouTube's issues with children begins late, the platform needs a solution. However, with YouTube finding it difficult to find a solution that addresses the concerns of decision makers, one major hurdle remains: Children have become part of the larger creator community.
Whether it's six-year-olds checking toys and landing on YouTube's trending site, more reaction videos from children who attract millions of visitors or first-class vloggers dating four-year-olds to more family-oriented content Creating a platform has become a destination for videos with children. In 201
"Some of the brightest creators have come to understand that there are mothers and fathers who also watch these vlogs," said Hunter. "It's not just about kids."
But video-directed videos have raised an increasing problem. Pedophiles have made predatory comments on children's videos, and YouTube's recommendation algorithm seems to have helped them find new goals. The New York Times discovered that the algorithm provided hundreds of thousands of views on a particular video from two 10-year-old girls playing for users who saw other videos of pre-pubertal, partially clothed children. Parents removed children's videos in 2015 for predatory behavior, and in 2016 the New Statesmen found that parents saw videos of their children embedded in pedophile forums.
While Harmless Family Videos Parent-uploaded videos that are not designed to excite hundreds of thousands of views, such as videos posted by professional YouTubers, are central to the concern. About two years ago, the authors began to become interested in child-centric content as advertisers fled the stories of hateful content and controversy from top writers on the platform. Concerned advertisers wanted to know that their ads would not appear on annoying, malicious or hate-filled videos, and some authors saw child-centric content as the solution.
Others have understood that children were included in their videos. Gaming personality Kevin Chapman has almost given up his original channel to focus on family vlogging. His new project quickly surpassed his gaming channel and here he turned his efforts.
"It has now become my main channel," Chapman said, officially renaming the channel's title to The Chapman Family Vlogs. "Here I spend most of my time now and that's what brings the most views."
Others saw similar successes in children. The Ace family has amassed more than 16 million subscribers in less than three years. Jake Paul, a vlogger known for his pranks and wild antics, started working directly with family vloggers and even invited a family to live in his house so he could chat with their four-year-old son Tydus. In a video earlier this year, Paul said that kid-friendly content needs to be created, with Tydus often being used in his videos to guarantee ad revenue.
"I post one of these 'kids videos' and it's doing really well and it's exploding and it's making a lot of money so it's like, what are we doing?" Paul said. "The reason why it's so difficult is because I want to be creative, whatever I want, but when it comes to doing business, it's like there's conflict, you can not figure out what it's like do is. "
YouTube is now under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission on child protection and the handling of child data. Several steps have already been taken to resolve the issue, to comment on most children's videos, to require minors to be accompanied by an adult during live streaming, and to remove thousands of accounts each week from children under For 13 years, The Wall Street Journal also includes more aggressive moves, including moving all videos with kids to the company's stand-alone YouTube Kids app. It is said that YouTube's staff is calling for the auto-play recommendations for videos with children to be disabled.
All these solutions raise issues for YouTube. YouTube may disable auto-play and stop recommending videos with kids, as suggested by many, but YouTube has warned that this would hurt the creator community very much. And the amount of content uploaded daily to YouTube is so big that filtering a significant portion of the video into another app, like YouTube Kids, would be a daunting task. A YouTube spokesperson said The Verge earlier this week that the company "is considering many ideas for improving YouTube and some of them just those – ideas". YouTube declined to comment and referred to a blog post earlier this month on measures to protect children.
"YouTube was never intended as a place for children and families. But it has happened, and now we all have to try to find the best way to protect everyone, "said Hunter, the YouTube and family vlogger on child protection advising children on YouTube, Hunter says, that's not viable plan. If it's not YouTube, it just makes "someone else's point of reference for children's content."