They appear to be part of the lucrative online world of ad revenue farming, but many parents have criticized YouTube for failing to keep these videos off of the YouTube Kids app...the app that is specifically meant to protect kids from potentially troublesome videos.
But some clearly out-of-bounds videos have slipped through the cracks - from a weird subgenre of YouTube creators using children's characters in freakish, violent or sexual situations.
Age-restricted videos are automatically blocked from showing up in its YouTube Kids app, the company said.
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According to YouTube's policy for age-restricted content, as part of determining if videos should be blocked from YouTube Kids, moderators will evaluate vulgar language, violence and disturbing imagery, nudity and sexually suggestive content, and the portrayal of harmful or unsafe activities. Instead, it's selected automatically, YouTube says, using machine learning and algorithms.
In an update that started rolling out last week, YouTube Kids now has a new setup process that gives parents and guardians more detailed information about what content to allow access to in the app. Users also can set up multiple profiles for individual children, and the design of the YouTube Kids app will change based on a kid's age (for example, younger kids will get less text, while older kids will get more content on the home screens). "If this happens, you can notify YouTube by flagging the video", the statement said. The changes will go live within a few weeks. But, its latest safeguard will also impact its main service, where age-restricted videos are only accessible to signed-in users aged 18 and over. That means this new policy could put a squeeze on the booming business of crafting odd kid's content. But The Times reported that some of them have shown up even in YouTube Kids.
YouTube has announced a clampdown on disturbing and inappropriate children's videos, following accusations that the site enabled "infrastructural violence" through the long-run effects of its content recommendation system. They appear to be targeted at kids who search for basic popular keywords (such as "Elsa") and then mindlessly watch the videos, letting them autoplay into other similar videos. And, the company is willing to forgo additional ad revenue - and there is a lot of money flowing through this segment of the industry - if that's what it takes to ensure YouTube Kids feels like a safe experience for families.
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