< Go back to blogUnderstanding COPPA and YouTube: Your Comprehensive Guide

Understanding COPPA and YouTube: Your Comprehensive Guide

Published: December 2, 2020

As a content creator on YouTube, the changes brought about by the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) might have prompted many questions about your channel’s future. As YouTube’s Head of Family Partnerships, I’m here to clarify these concerns and help you navigate the adjustments.

The Reason Behind YouTube’s Updates

In light of a settlement with the FTC, YouTube has introduced changes to enhance child privacy protections and to ensure compliance with COPPA. Despite YouTube not being targeted at users under 13, shared devices often mean that children have unsupervised access to content on the platform.

Identifying Content ‘Made for Kids’

Among the frequently asked questions is how to determine if content is ‘Made for Kids’. When creating videos, it’s vital to assess your target audience. Content features such as the use of child-friendly actors, characters, activities, games, songs, or stories, may label your video as primarily intended for children.

The Effect on Gaming Content and Family-Focused Channels

Bear in mind that children viewing your video does not mean it automatically falls into the ‘Made for Kids’ category. This applies to a variety of videos, including gaming content like Minecraft walkthroughs, or family vlogging channels aimed at parents or adults. The defining factor is the intended audience of the content itself.

Modifications to Interactive Features

Videos designated as ‘Made for Kids’ will see changes to interactive elements such as comments and end screens. These changes are in place to align with privacy regulations that limit the gathering of user data from children.

The Role of YouTube Kids App Versus Unsupervised Content Access
Though the YouTube Kids app offers a more controlled environment for child viewers, the FTC has still flagged issues with unsupervised watching on main YouTube platforms. Therefore, refinements have been made to address these concerns across all areas beyond the specialized app.

Understanding General Audience Versus Mixed Audience Content
Content for the general audience broadly covers materials that are not explicitly aimed at children. On the other hand, mixed audience content may incorporate elements that appeal to children but are not solely directed at them. This important distinction influences how you, as a creator, should set audience preferences within the YouTube Studio.

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