YouTube has made a major change to its policies related to children’s videos. The multi-billion-dollar platform has made an agreement with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in order to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). COPPA prohibits websites from collecting information about children under 13 years old and advertising to them without their parent’s permission.
Do note that COPPA cannot restrict children from watching videos. It only prevents data collection from children and gives parents more control over personal information collected from children. Before jumping to conclusions, we must understand that these policies exist to protect younger children who are more vulnerable to inappropriate advertising and could risk their safety online.
COPPA requires creators to categorise videos as “made for kids” or “not made for kids” when uploading a new video. The catch is, videos that are categorised as “made for kids” will not have a comments section, cards, info cards, end screens, stories, the community tab, notification bell and the option to save videos. If you mislabel your videos, the FTC is entitled to collect heavy fines from you. However, YouTube will notify you if you’ve made an error so that you have enough time to make amends.
How to categorise your videos?
There are two ways to categorise your videos. You can categorise each individual video or categorise all videos on your channel at one shot. Here’s how you do it.
Option 1: Categorise each individual video
If any of your previous videos are directed towards kids, make sure you go back to YouTube Creator Studio and categorise the video appropriately. To do this, go to your Creator Studio < select videos on the left hand tab < hover over the video you want to edit and click the “pencil icon” to edit it.
Next, pick an answer from these two options.
Is this video made for kids?
- Yes, it’s made for kids
- No, it’s not made for kids
Option 2: Categorise all your videos at the channel level
Open YouTube Creator Studio < click on settings on the left tab
Select channel < advanced settings < choose “Yes, set this channel as made for kids. I always upload content that’s made for kids”.
How to determine whether your content is made for kids:
If children are your primary or secondary audience, you must categorise your videos as children-directed. First, you need to understand what primary and secondary audience means.
- Children are your primary audience if your content is created exclusively for children.
- Children are your secondary audience if your content could appeal to children. In this case, we’ve laid down the main key points that will help you determine whether children are your secondary audience.
1. What is your video’s main subject matter?
If your video contains educational content for preschoolers, nursery rhymes, simple songs, children’s stories, DIY back to school hacks or similar content, you must categorise your videos as kid-directed.
2. Do you have child actors or models appearing in your video?
If there are children appearing in your video, your content is likely to attract other children.
3. Does your video include content that children tend to watch, read or play with?
If you have animated characters, cartoon figures, toys or celebrities from TV shows that children like, it means that your video is kid-directed.
4. Do you engage in any activity that could appeal to children?
Any play-acting or children’s games like hopscotch, tag or spin the bottle are classified as kid-friendly.
5. Is your language intended for children to understand?
Are you speaking slowly, using simple words or adopting the same tone of voice similar to what shows like the Teletubbies or Barney & Friends use?
You can always refer to your channel’s YouTube Analytics to help you determine which age the majority of your audience comprises of. To learn more about complying with COPPA check out the Federal State Commission website.