Pressure mounts on YouTube to better protect young users

phys.org | 9/21/2018 | Staff
samtetley (Posted by) Level 3
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Millions of children regularly use YouTube to watch video game tutorials, television shows and even to watch random people unbox new toys.

But consumer and child protection groups are worried that the Google-owned video service is collecting data on young users at the same time, and failing to shield them from inappropriate content.

Organizations - Google - Changes - Videos - YouTube

These organizations argue that Google needs to make big changes, including putting all child-directed videos in its separate YouTube Kids app to comply with laws in the United States and elsewhere.

"We think going forward YouTube has to change the way they operate in every way," said David Monahan, campaign manager at Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, one of the groups that filed a complaint against Google in 2015 and another in 2018.

Business - Model - Kids - YouTube - Data

"Their business model is to get kids on YouTube as long as possible to collect their data, target them with ads... in many cases, exposing them to inappropriate content."

The Washington Post reported this week that the US Federal Trade Commission is in the "late stages" of an investigation on whether YouTube adequately protects children from harmful online content.

Probe - Fines - Remedies - Google

Such a probe could lead to fines and other remedies against Google.

Jeffrey Chester of the Center for Digital Democracy, another group which joined the complaint, said the FTC "has to show it will protect children" by imposing fines—and possibly even structural remedies.

Pew - Research - Center - Percent - US

According to Pew Research Center, 81 percent of US parents with children age 11 or younger say they let their child watch videos on YouTube.

One in three of those respondents said their child watches content regularly on YouTube.

Google - YouTube - Site - Users - Age

Google contends that the main YouTube site is off-limits to users under age 13, who are encouraged to use its Kids app.

But critics say this policy is not adequately enforced, and children can easily use someone else's account to access the main...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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