YouTube and Google has always been a source of entertainment and education combined. The two platforms offers variety of content to the audience. In the situation of lockdown for entire world kids had been using YouTube oftenly. All the videos on YouTube are repeatedly interrupted by advertisements.
Most of them are inadequate specially for children. The ads doesn’t have any educational value even some of them includes violent footage as per a report from academics and Common Sense Media, an advocacy group.
Though Youtube has invested ample amount to police the videos for kids but are are moderately failing. As per the current report, 95% of kids in the study were interrupted by ads while watching video and that too in the inappropriate category. A year after the Youtube had to pay the fine for breaking children’s privacy laws, even though report focused more on Alphabet Inc.’s Google.
U.S. Senator Ed Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, stated regarding the report’s findings, “In today’s online ecosystem, families deserve a set of enforceable rules that protect children when they’re on the internet.” Even a bill was introduced initially in 2020 by Markely regarding banning certain content aimed for children younger than 16.
Google settled for $170 million with U.S. Federal Trade Commission in September 2019, for serving ads based on personal data to kids on YouTube. Though before case, company claimed that children below 13 didn’t use the application without supervision. But after the case, Youtube directed younger children to ‘Youtube Kids’ to maintain the law. As, per Youtube through ‘Youtube kids’ company is investing in “quality educational videos.”
YouTube stated “Protecting kids and families is a top priority for us,” they added “Because YouTube is not for children, we’ve invested significantly in the creation of the YouTube Kids app, a destination made specifically for kids to explore their imagination and curiosity. We’re encouraged by the report’s findings that 63% of parents supervise their kids’ experience on YouTube, but continue to recommend parents use YouTube Kids if they plan to allow kids under 13 to watch independently.”
As, per the findings of research the amount of children watching videos has been double from 2017 and about 5% of the videos are considered of “high educational value.” Many ads are even interrupt educational part of videos. While teaching colours to kid in one clip, Blippi a popular YouTube emerged and blocked the word “blue”.
Jenny Radesky, a Pediatrician at Michigan Medicine C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital said “The study provides one of the more detailed snapshots of children’s viewing behaviour on YouTube.”
Radesky said “We were surprised by the amount of long videos that appeared to be put together just to attract young viewers, even if they didn’t have substance,” he added “It really works to keep kids occupied. They don’t need to think.”
The findings in the study relied on rating system as Common Sense and it shows that only 24% of the footage on YouTube represents diverse race and gender where as, 30% contains “mild physical violence”.
The recommendation system of YouTube didn’t rise much of them and even study didn’t solely accused YouTube, as in the research they even find that many children watched videos that are classified as highly educational.
The research doesn’t accuse YouTube of serving targeted ads to children. And the study found that many children watched the YouTube videos that researchers classified as highly educational. Relative to other clips, however, YouTube’s recommendation system rarely surfaced these.