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Google Child Online Protection Act Compliance

Grandson's promise delivered in 2019

Celebrating a Victory with YouTube changes to kids safe content

Google is making a few changes to how they collect and use data on kids content on YouTube.com. These changes will address concerns raised by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding our compliance under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

In the coming months, here's what's changing: 

  • All videos are required to select if the content is made for kids. In addition, AI, natural language, and machine learning will help identify videos that clearly target young audiences. At a high level, content that is made for kids has an emphasis on:
    • Children or children’s characters.
    • Popular children’s programming or animated characters.
    • Play-acting, or stories using children’s toys.
    • Child protagonists engaging in common natural play patterns such as play-acting and/or imaginative play. 
    • Popular children’s songs, stories or poems.

Ultimately, you know your audience best and we’ll rely on you to designate (in Studio) your videos as made for kids. If a creator attempts to avoid categorizing their content correctly, there may be consequences on the YouTube platform for that creator.

  • Google will stop serving personalized ads on content that is made for kids, whether designated by you or by our classifier.  In accordance with COPPA, Google will serve personalized ads (ads that are targeted to users based on their past usage of Google products and services) to child audiences is not permissible. If applicable, this may result in a decrease in revenue for some creators. Note that we will continue to serve non-personalized ads (ads that are shown based on context rather than on user data) on content that is made for kids. 
  • Some features will no longer be available on this type of content, like comments. The ability to comment will no longer be available on the watch page. Likes/dislikes and subscriptions on this content will not show up on public lists. Overall, viewers will have minimum engagement options with made for kids content on YouTube.com.

COPPA is a US law making changes to global content practices to protect children online from predators. Consider your applicable legal obligations when evaluating whether your content may be made for kids, including how the age of a child is defined in your country. Consult legal counsel if you have additional questions.

Preparing for these changes

Recognizing change is not easy for some creators, but Google believes that these are important steps to improve data practices on content made for kids on YouTube.com. They have worked with the FTC to give impacted creators four months to adjust before these changes take effect on YouTube.com. Before these changes take place, it’s important that you:

  • Understand COPPA and your legal responsibilities as a creator. You can learn more about COPPA here. You need to consider your applicable legal obligations when evaluating whether your content may be made for kids, including how the age of a child is defined in your country. Consult legal counsel if you have additional questions.
  • Understand our Terms of Service and your responsibilities as a general YouTube user. YouTube is a general-audience site; our Terms of Service are clear that users may use the service if they are above 13 or the relevant minimum age in their country. We recommend parents use YouTube Kids if they plan to allow kids to watch independently.
  • Learn about other ways to monetize. We’ll continue to serve non personalized ads (ads that are shown based on context rather than on user data). This Help Center article outlines some types of non personalized ads under “Content targeting”. 
  • If you’re a parent, make sure you’re aware of YouTube Kids and its benefits.

What an amazing victory, Cheers!